Skip to Main Content
Services Talent Knowledge
Site Search
Menu

Alert

Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

June 29, 2020

COVID-19: Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Orders Imposing Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State, Blocking COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave to Employees Voluntarily Traveling to High-Risk Areas

On June 24, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 205, which included the following quarantine restrictions on travelers arriving in New York State:

All travelers entering New York from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average, will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days consistent with Department of Health regulations for quarantine.

Shortly after, as required by Executive Order No. 205, the Department of Health commissioner issued “Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel.” Noticeably absent from the DOH interim guidance were answers to questions such as whether Executive Order No. 205 triggered NYS COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave benefits for NYS employees who voluntarily travel (e.g., for vacation or otherwise) to high-risk states, which currently include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

Over the weekend, however, in response to numerous questions raised by Executive Order No. 205 and the DOH interim guidance, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.45, which, among other things, modified the NYS COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Act to clarify that employees who voluntarily travel to high-risk areas “shall not be eligible for paid sick leave benefits or any other paid benefits” as long as the travel wasn’t taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employer. Nonetheless, under these circumstances, employees would still be eligible to use accrued leave provided by the employer or, to the extent that employees don’t have enough accrued leave, unpaid leave must be provide for the duration of the quarantine imposed by Executive Order No. 205.

We recommend that employers immediately update any existing travel-restriction policies accordingly, bearing in mind that Executive Order No. 202.45 didn’t eliminate the NYS COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Act requirement that, in order for any employer to deny paid sick leave benefits to employees based on voluntarily travel, the employees must be “provided notice of the travel health notice and the limitations ... prior to such travel.”

We also encourage employers to review the state’s “COVID-19 Travel Advisory” in connection with the DOH interim guidance, particularly for businesses that employ essential workers. Importantly, there are exemptions to the travel-related quarantine imposed by Executive Order No. 205 for “essential workers,” who are defined in the DOH interim guidance as one of the following:

  1. Any individual employed by an entity included on the Empire State Development essential business list
  2. Any individual who meets the COVID-19 testing criteria pursuant to their status as either an individual who is employed as a health care worker, first responder, or in any position within a nursing home, long-term care facility, or other congregate care setting or an individual who is employed as an essential employee who directly interacts with the public while working, pursuant to the “DOH Protocol for COVID-19 Testing,” issued May 31
  3. Any other worker deemed such by the commissioner of health

The travel advisory exemptions for essential workers, set forth below, are limited based on the duration of time in the high-risk states as well as the intended duration of time in New York State.

Short Term: For essential workers traveling to New York State for a period of less than 12 hours

  • This includes instances such as an essential worker passing through New York State, delivering goods, awaiting flight layovers, and other short-duration activities.
  • Essential workers should stay in their vehicle and limit personal exposure by avoiding public spaces as much as possible.
  • Essential workers should monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect workspaces.
  • Essential workers are required, to the extent possible, to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.

Medium Term: For essential workers traveling to New York State for a period of less than 36 hours, requiring them to stay overnight

  • This includes instances such as an essential worker delivering multiple goods in New York State, awaiting a longer flight layover, and other medium-duration activities.
  • Essential workers should monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect workspaces.
  • Essential workers are required, to the extent possible, to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.

Long Term: For essential workers traveling to New York State for a period of greater than 36 hours, requiring them to stay several days

  • This includes instances such as an essential worker working on longer projects, fulfilling extended employment obligations, and other longer-duration activities.
  • Essential workers should seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible upon arrival (within 24 hours) to ensure they’re not positive.
  • Essential workers should monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing, clean and disinfect workspaces for a minimum of 14 days.
  • Essential workers, to the extent possible, are required to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings for a period of at least seven days.

In respect to the long-term exemption—and though not entirely clear from the language of the DOH interim guidance—it appears this exemption applies to any essential worker traveling to New York State, including essential workers employed in New York State who travel out-of-state to one of the high-risk areas and then return to New York State.

Essential workers and their employers are expected to comply with previously issued DOH guidance regarding returning to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the employee had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19. Additionally, the current guidance may be superseded by more specific industry guidance for a particular industry.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Rob Thorpe, counsel, at rthorpe@barclaydamon.com, or another member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area.

We also have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. Please contact Yvonne Hennessey, COVID-19 Response Team leader, at yhennessey@barclaydamon.com or any member of the COVID-19 Response Team at COVID-19ResponseTeam@barclaydamon.com.

Subscribe

Click here to sign up for alerts, blog posts, and firm news.

Subscribe

Sign up to receive our latest news via email

Practice Areas

Featured Industries

New & Emerging Industry Practice Areas

Other

View our Privacy Policy

Featured Media

Alerts

NYS Office of Renewable Energy Siting Proposes New Rules Implementing the Major Renewable Energy Development Program

Alerts

Strict New Criteria for Community Medicaid Program Takes Effect October 1

Alerts

FERC Formalizes Its Practice That States Have a Full Year to Act on Section 401 Certification Requests for Natural Gas Act Infrastructure Projects

Alerts

Have You Received an "Urgent Notice" About Your Trademark?

Alerts

COVID-19: Anticipated RESTAURANTS Act of 2020 Will Establish a $120 Billion Fund for Assistance

Alerts

Post-ARRA COBRA Litigation May Signal COBRA Lawsuits to Come

This site uses cookies to give you the best experience possible on our site and in some cases direct advertisements to you based upon your use of our site.

By clicking [I agree], you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For information on what cookies we use and how to manage our use of cookies, please visit our Privacy Statement.

I AgreeOpt-Out