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New York Non-Essential Businesses Must Keep 75% Of Their Workforce At Home


In response to the continued surge of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference this morning thatnon-essential businesses must decrease their in-office workforce by 75%. This comes on the heels of an Executive Order Governor Cuomo issued just yesterday directing non-essential businesses to decrease their in-office workforce by 50%. [Ed. Note: The Executive order requiring the 50% workforce deduction takes effect March 20 at 8 p.m.; the 75% reduction is effective March 21 at 8 p.m.]

Businesses providing the below essential services are excluded from the mandate and do not need to reduce their in-person workforce:

Other businesses may be deemed essential after requesting an opinion from the Empire State Development Corporation, which will be responsible for reviewing and granting such requests. [Ed. Note: The Empire State Development Corporation’s has provided guidance as to whether a business is essential and thus exempt from the workforce reduction orders, and has prepared a form for other companies to use to request to be deemed an essential business.]

Governor Cuomo continues to implore all non-essential businesses to close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to let workers telecommute whenever possible.

This latest density reduction effort is on top of other measures state and city-wide, including:

Additional closures may be forthcoming as the state and local government continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers also need to comply with a new state law guaranteeing job protection and wages for New York workers who have been quarantined as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. 


For now, we will continue to monitor the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation and provide updates as appropriate. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ Alert System to get the most up-to-date information. For further information, contact your Fisher Phillips attorney, any attorney in our New York City office, or any member of our COVID-19 Taskforce. You can also review our nationwide Comprehensive and Updated FAQs for Employers on the COVID-19 Coronavirus and our FP Resource Center For Employers, maintained by our Taskforce.

This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific state law. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.

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