This week Governor Cuomo announced that The State's health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines-including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing-are now optional for retail businesses, and that includes veterinary medicine.
Note however that unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Consistent with the State's implementation of the recent CDC guidance, masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals.So the State guidelines posted on May 19th are still in effect.
I checked in with our lawyer about whether than means that unvaccinated clients should be masked and also socially distanced, and his recommendation is that you should continue to have six feet of separation between unvaccinated individuals and everyone else.
I asked our lawyer about the steps an animal hospital would need to take to protect unvaccinated staff, if they were to admit only vaccinated people. Would self-certification be sufficient? His answer was:
"A hospital would more effectively mitigate liability risk by requiring proof of vaccination status rather than self-certification. That said, it appears that the vast majority of businesses, professions, etc. are relying on self-certification instead of actual proof. Thus, self-certification appears to be the community standard by which most everyone is operating. What this means is that self-certification is an approach that is reasonable and could be an adequate defense to any future injury claims. That is, the self-certification approach does mitigate risk of liability (albeit not as effectively as proof of vaccination status). In my view, individuals generally are not prepared or willing to show proof of vaccination status in many contexts, and that requiring anything other than self-certification would be disruptive to the business of the hospital and impair patient access to care and those burdens would outweigh any benefits derived from a implementing an approach that requires proof of vaccination status"
Self-certification can be achieved with a notice on the door, stating that only vaccinated individuals may enter. You could add to that notice that unvaccinated individuals can call ahead to arrange curbside checkin.