Inside the New York HERO Act

The New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act) – signed into law by former Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 5th, 2021 – introduces new workplace health and safety measures to protect employees during airborne infectious disease outbreaks, including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent variants.


Under the NY HERO Act, various model plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease have been developed by the New York State (NYS) Department of Labor (NYS DOL), in consultation with the NYS Department of Health.


These include an Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard, a Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and various industry-specific plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease, including plans for Private Education.


re-open.com can not only help you understand the requirements of the NY HERO Act as they relate to you but can also provide products and services to help you comply.



Do I have to adopt a NY HERO Act plan?

All New York State private employers must adopt a plan for every airborne infectious disease designated by the New York State Department of Health, of which COVID-19 is one.



When do NY HERO Act plans go into effect?


While airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans have to be adopted by employers under the NY HERO Act, they do not necessarily have to be in effect until an airborne infectious disease outbreak is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health.

These plans must go into effect once an airborne infectious disease is designated – by the New York State Commissioner of Health – as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health.


As of September 6th, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the commissioner of health has designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease presenting a serious public health risk.

Under the NY HERO Act, do employers have to adopt the applicable policy template or plan provided by NYS DOL?


Under the HERO ACT, employers do not have to adopt the policy template or plan provided by NYS DOL. They may choose to adopt an alternative plan as long as it meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the standard.


At re-open.com, we can help you find products and services that go far beyond exceeding these minimum requirements, including our Vital Monitoring System (VMS) and Smart Analytical Model (SAM) apps, which provide enhanced safety measures to your workplace in a compliant and cost-efficient way.



Is there a NY HERO Act model plan for my industry?


NY HERO Act model plans are available for the following industries:

  • Agriculture

  • Construction

  • Delivery Services

  • Domestic Workers

  • Emergency Response

  • Food Services

  • Manufacturing and Industry

  • Personal Services

  • Private Education

  • Private Transportation

  • Retail

There is also a general model for airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards, which is applicable to all worksites not included in the specific industry standards.



Do NY HERO Act plans need to be displayed in workplaces?

Employers must provide a copy of the adopted airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan to each worksite, as well as position the plan in a visible and prominent location within each work site.



Under the NY HERO Act, what is considered a workplace?


Originally under the Act, a workplace – or “work site” – was considered to be, “…any physical space, including a vehicle, that has been designated as the location where work is performed.”

After amendments were made to the act on June 11, 2021, the NY HERO Act now considers work sites to be, “…any physical space, including a vehicle, that has been designated as the location where work is performed, over which an employer has the ability to exercise control.”


re-open.com understands the multiple ways in which people work, including the use of unique work environments. Using our platform, you can add various locations and tailor products and services to suit even the most unique environments.

Under the amendments, telecommuting or telework sites are not included unless the employer can exercise control of the site.

Do NY HERO Act plans need to be distributed to employees?


A copy of a company’s model plan must be provided to every employee and any new hires. Companies have 30 days from adopting the model to provide copies to each employee. New hires must receive their copy when they begin employment.



re-open.com is a platform that will support you in complying with the NY HERO Act now and into the future, for this outbreak and the next, in pandemic times and not. We know the challenges businesses face understanding and following the vast amounts of legislation and regulations and we’re here to make it easier, safer, and more cost-efficient.

DISCLAIMER: This information is to be used as a guide only and does not substitute professional advice or government-issued content. It is accurate as of the publication date. Information in this article was sourced from the New York State Department of Labor. A detailed explanation of the NY HERO Act can be found here.


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