December 21, 2021
Wanted to bring you up to speed on several important issues/changes:
First, as you know, the Commissioners at OMH and OASAS have each been issuing Emergency Waivers that continue a variety of COVID regulatory flexibilities (see document attached to this email) ever since our former governor cancelled the State of Emergency in NYS (June 2021). Governor Hochul issued a NEW Disaster Emergency for NYS (11/26), fyi. Here is a link to Governor’s Declaration of a State of Emergency: https://www.governor.ny.gov/executive-order/no-11-declaring-disaster-emergency-state-new-york
The information from OASAS (below) is meant to inform the field that the latest waiver issued by OASAS Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham is good for 120 days, effective 12/20, or up until such time as the status of the flexibility you are inquiring about changes. This could include making the flexibility permanent through adoption of permanent regulations. The documents linked in the note below track various OASAS flexibilities and discuss what is happening with each of them.
Next, last week a federal appeals court reinstated the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing requirement for private businesses that covers about 80 million American workers. The ruling by the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati lifted a November injunction that had blocked the rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA) which applies to businesses with at least 100 workers. The decision by the 6th Circuit sets up a Supreme Court showdown over Biden’s policy and (as expected) on Friday petitioners seeking to block implementation of the mandate immediately filed emergency applications for a ‘stay’ in the Supreme Court. On Sunday, OSHA decided to delay implementation of the mandate until January 10. It is my understanding that the state agencies are preparing guidance pertaining to these new developments but that (generally) the OSHA mandate (if it stands) would trump any state law that requires less than what is required in the OSHA mandate.
We know both of these issues are incredibly confusing and there are still many unknowns. Please don’t make any personnel or other decisions based on this information. Talk to your attorneys. I wanted to provide a ‘heads up’, to let you know that we are on it and will be updating you as the fog clears.
From: OASAS.sm.Communications <OASAS.sm.Communications@oasas.ny.gov>
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2021 3:19 PM
Subject: Extended Covid Commissioner Waiver—Continuing Flexibilities
Consistent with previous extensions of OASAS regulatory flexibilities and the Disaster Emergency in the State of New York announced by Governor Hochul on November 26, 2021, OASAS is continuing the extension of most regulatory flexibilities.
At this time, waiver allows for continuing flexibilities for an additional 120 days.
Questions may be addressed to PICM@oasas.ny.gov or Legal@oasas.ny.gov.
NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)