COVID Health Care Worker Mandates: New York, New Jersey And Connecticut

August 19, 2021

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have mandated that health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.  While some states are providing the option to undergo weekly testing as an alternative to the vaccine, others are not, and only permit certain defined exemptions for bona fide medical and religious reasons:

New York

  • On August 16, 2021, Governor Cuomo announced that all healthcare workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, will be required to be vaccinated, except for those with bona fide religious or medical exemptions. These employees are required to have at least one dose of an approved vaccine by September 27, 2021.  It does not appear that health care employees will be permitted to undergo regular testing in lieu of vaccination.
  • This follows Governor Cuomo’s July 28, 2021 announcement that all patient-facing workers at New York state run hospitals will be required to be vaccinated by September 6, 2021. These employees will also not be given the option to be tested in lieu of vaccination.

New Jersey

  • On August 6, 2021, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 252, requiring the following health care facilities to implement policies that require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, 2021, or submit to testing at a minimum of one to two times per week:
    • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, specialty, and psychiatric hospitals;
    • Ambulatory surgical centers, long-term care facilities, and intermediate-term care facilities;
    • Residential detox, short-term, and long-term substance abuse disorder treatment facilities and opioid treatment programs;
    • Clinic-based health care settings, including ambulatory care, urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, federally qualified health centers, and family planning sites; and
    • Community-based health care settings, including elderly care programs, pediatric and adult medical day care programs, and licensed home health agencies and registered health care service firms operating within New Jersey.


  • On August 6, 2021, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 13B, which requires employees of long-term care facilities to receive at least the first vaccination dose by September 7, 2021, except for those who fall under a medical or religious exemption. The Executive Order does not provide the option to undergo testing in lieu of vaccination.
  • A “long-term care facility” is defined to include the following:
    • Nursing homes;
    • Residential care homes;
    • Assisted living services agencies;
    • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities;
    • Managed residential communities; and
    • Chronic disease hospitals.
  • Executive Order 13B also specifies that long-term care facilities shall not employ any individual that has received the first dose, but fails to receive the second dose, of a two-dose series vaccination.

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