Protecting the Public Health of All New Yorkers

Long-Term Care Facilities

In an effort to protect some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo announced only medically necessary visits will be allowed at nursing homes. This policy will be effective Friday, March 13 at 5:00 PM.

The state is also asking nursing homes to set up skyping and other online communication capacity so families can tele-visit their loved ones.

Additionally, the state will require health screenings for all nursing home workers each day when they enter a facility and require them to wear surgical masks to guard against any potential asymptomatic spread.



    Health Advisory: Revised Skilled Nursing Facility Visitation

    The information contained in this directive supersedes and replaces previously issued guidance and recommendations regarding general nursing home (“NH”) visitation and is consistent with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) memorandum QSO-20-39-NH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines on such topics. Nothing in this directive should be construed as limiting or eliminating a NH’s responsibility to ensure that resident and family communication is ongoing and supported by virtual visits, whenever possible.




    Notification: Hospital Executive Officer and Nursing Home Administrators

    As you are aware, on June 23, 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the expiration of the State Disaster Emergency, declared pursuant to Executive Order 202, effective June 25, 2021. Accordingly, Executive Order 202.30, as modified, which required Article 28 general hospitals to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result prior to discharge to a nursing home, as well as Dear Administrator Letters ACF #20-14 and NH #20-07, dated May 11, 2020, which extended this requirement to test patients prior to discharge to an adult care facility, have now expired.




    Routine COVID-19 Testing of Nursing Home Personnel

    June 10, 2021 - Effective immediately, operators and administrators of all nursing homes are required to test or arrange for the routine testing for COVID-19 of all personnel who have not been fully vaccinated, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including employees, contract staff, medical staff, operators and administrators, for COVID-19 twice per week, consistent with the updated April 27, 2021 CMS rule which stated “vaccinated staff do not need to be routinely tested.”




    Routine COVID-19 Testing of Adult Care Facility Staff

    June 10, 2021 - Effective immediately, operators and administrators of all adult care facilities (ACFs) are required to test or arrange for the routine testing for COVID-19 of all personnel who have not been fully vaccinated (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), including employees, contract staff, medical staff, operators and administrators, for COVID-19 once per week.




    Salon Services in Adult Care Facilities

    Adult Care Facilities (ACFs) and Nursing Homes (NH) may resume in-house salon services, provided that the facility is able to adhere to all local, state, and federal requirements as applicable, relative to hair salons and barbershops.



Pre-K - 12 Schools

Reopening schools across the state is one of the most critical parts of our plan to reopen New York—for our children and their development, and for the wellbeing of entire communities.  Above all, we must keep children, teachers, and staff safe.


The New York State Department of Health is making the attached materials available for use within school settings. Thank you for all of your efforts and partnership as you work to reopen schools safely during this unprecedented time. 


The COVID-19 Report Card will provide parents, teachers, students and all New Yorkers with comprehensive data updated on a daily basis, including:

  • Positive infections by date of students & staff by school & school district
  • Whether school/district (& student and staff) are remote, in-person, or hybrid
  • Number of students and staff on-site
  • Percentage of on-site students & staff who test positive
  • Number of tests administered by the school, test type, lab used and lag time
  • Date of last submission/update


Please see the additional guidance and presentations posted below and the Guidelines for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools.  If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Guidance, Letters and Update Presentations for Schools


In-Person Classes Canceled

SUNY Albany will cancel in-person classes for the rest of the semester after a positive case was confirmed on March 12, 2020.

Distance Learning

State University of New York and the City University of New York will implement plans to maximize distance learning and reduce in-person classes, beginning March 19, 2020, for the remainder of the Spring semester in light of the evolving novel coronavirus situation in New York. 

All campuses will develop plans catered to the campus and curriculum-specific needs while reducing density in the campus environment to help slow possibility for exposures to novel coronavirus. Distance learning and other options will be developed by campuses.  

Guidance for Fall Semester

The State will issue guidance to colleges and universities to allow some in person instruction and on-campus housing and for the fall semester. Campuses must develop a plan, which attests to meeting the guidance and file plans with the State.


Child Care Providers

The Office of Children and Family Services is working closely with the New York State Department of Health to provide child care providers with the most up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus. 

View the full list of letters to child care providers. 

Guidance for Early Intervention Providers

Pregnancy Guidelines

Pregnancy is an exciting and sometimes stressful experience. Being pregnant during a disease outbreak may add extra anxiety and concern for you and those you care about who are pregnant. Health care providers and people who research infections are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, including how easily it spreads and affects different at-risk populations. 

Currently, the virus is thought to be spread from an infected person to others by respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes and is in close contact with another person. According to the CDC, pregnant people do not appear to be at greater risk of getting COVID-19, but may get sicker when infected with COVID-19. Due to changes that occur during pregnancy, pregnant people may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections. The most important thing you can do is to protect yourself from getting sick.

This includes following the same guidance that is provided to everyone, including people who are not pregnant: 

All people should use prevention strategies to reduce their chances of getting any virus (like influenza or “flu” or “the common cold”). 

  • The New York State Department of Health encourages individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine and issued the following guidance on May 11, 2021 for COVID-19 Vaccination for People who are Pregnant, Lactating, or Planning to Become Pregnant
  • Stay home if you are sick. Call your health care provider for advice that can be provided over the phone or using telehealth, before seeking care in the office. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and then discard it in a closed container, or if a tissue is not available, use the inside of your elbow. 
  • Keep your hands clean by washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick. 
  • Get the flu shot (at this time, there is no current vaccination for coronaviruses). 
  • Call your health care provider with any questions about how you feel. 


COVID-19 Maternity Task Force

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and the New York State Council on Women and Girls announced the creation of a COVID-19 maternity task force to examine the best approach to authorizing and certifying additional dedicated birthing centers in an effort to provide mothers a safe alternative to already stressed hospitals amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The task force will make recommendations to Governor Cuomo by the end of the week.  

Additionally, the task force will work with Regional Perinatal Centers to review literature and make recommendations on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy. 


Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees 

Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on April 12, 2020 that directs essential businesses to provide, at their expense, face coverings for their employees when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. 

Paid Sick Leave
On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

This groundbreaking new measure will help ensure that New Yorkers are able to care for their family without jeopardizing their economic security and builds on the Governor’s unprecedented actions to protect and uplift workers and their families.

Learn More About COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

Unemployment Insurance Waiting Period Waived

Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on March 14, 2020 that waives the 7-day waiting period for workers in shared work programs to claim unemployment insurance for those that have been put out of work by COVID-19.


Governor Cuomo signed an executive order that put New York State on PAUSE, mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 100%. This follows the Governor's directive that all businesses implement work-from-home policies. PAUSE expired on May 15, 2020 and was extended to May 28, 2020 for regions not meeting phased in reopenings.

Exemptions will be made for essential service industries, including:

  • Shipping
  • Media
  • Warehousing
  • Grocery
  • Food production
  • Pharmacies
  • Healthcare providers
  • Utilities
  • Banks and related financial institutions
  • Other industries critical to the supply chain

Read the guidance on essential businesses.

Empire State Development Resources for Businesses

View up-to-date guidance for the agency’s partners and other stakeholders impacted by the virus.  

Protocols for Essential Personnel to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection 

Public and private sector organizations that provide essential services or functions where personnel are needed to perform critical functions, including infrastructure, public safety, and other essential operations, may allow personnel who were exposed to or are recovering from COVID-19 to work in the workplace setting, if needed to maintain essential operations.

Read the protocols

Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees 

Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on April 12, 2020 that directs essential businesses to provide, at their expense, face coverings for their employees when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. 


Governor Cuomo signed an executive order temporarily modifying election procedures to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The executive order: 

  • Suspends the candidate petitioning process — effective 5PM on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 — for the June primaries for Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly and Judicial races. 
  • Modifies the signature requirements for ballot access; candidates will only need to collect 30 percent of the statutory threshold. For Congress, candidates would need 375 signatures rather than 1,250. For State Senate, candidates would need 300 signatures rather than 1,000. For Assembly, candidates would only need 150 signatures rather than 500.
  • Modifies deadlines and procedures to better allow New Yorkers to vote absentee for the Queens Borough President special election on March 24. It extends the current deadline to register to vote absentee to March 23, the day before the special election. Absentee votes must be postmarked or delivered in person up until the day of the election on March 24.  

Safety Measures to Prevent Against Transmission at Polling Stations