Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.16 Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees Interacting with the Public During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted April 15, 2020

Just-released guidance (click here) from the state’s Department of Health regarding ‘face coverings’ as required by the Executive Order 202.16 that takes effect at 8 pm tomorrow (4/15/20).


Executive Order 202.16, issued on April 12, 2020, provides the following directive:


For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law. This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.


A couple of points to highlight:


  • “Employees are allowed to use their own face coverings, but shall not be mandated to do so by their employer.”
  • “Employees are required to wear face coverings when in direct contact with members of the public, except where doing so would inhibit or otherwise impair the employee’s health. Employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring medical or other documentation from an employee who declines to wear a face covering due to a medical or other health condition that prevents such usage.”