This week, Governor Hochul announced that the statewide indoor business mask-or-vaccine requirement was being lifted effective today, Thursday, February 10. It will remain in effect in certain settings, including schools, public transportation centers, hospitals, and all healthcare settings regulated by the NYS Department of Health.
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What does this mean for patients?
Since private dental offices are not regulated by the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), patient masking is no longer mandated by New York State in this setting. However, the NYSDOH Interim Guidance for Dentistry during the Covid- 19 Public Health Emergency, which includes face coverings, continues to be the recommended best practice for dental settings. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still recommends masking for all people in a healthcare setting as well.
NYSDOH Interim Guidance
What does this mean for staff?
The NYS HERO Act remains in effect until February 15, which may require employee masking. Even if that declaration expires, NYSDA continues to recommend that all dental healthcare providers (DHCP) wear masks in the dental office setting.
NYS HERO Act Details
What does this mean for employers?
While NYSDOH and CDC provide guidance, they do not represent the force of law. Members should understand that it is well within their right to require masks in their private dental office. Not only is it allowable, it is considered prudent.
Local Municipalities May Still Enact Mask Mandates
Lastly, keep in mind that local municipalities may still enact their own indoor masking mandates, so be sure to check with your local governments.
Additional COVID-19 resources are available at www.nysdental.org/covid19