Covid-19 response

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  • 1.  NYS Curbside Mandate Lifted

    Posted 05-24-2021 15:09

    NYS Curbside Mandate Lifted

    The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets has provided us with the following update:


    "The requirement for curbside veterinary visits has been lifted. Veterinary clinics are now treated as any other business and veterinarians should consult The NYForward Reopening Reference Guide at for further information."


    Although the link to the original guideline is still active, we expect to see this change very soon.


    NYS has issued a reference guide on implementing CDC guidance in your business.


    You are authorized to require masks and six feet of social distancing, but you may also adopt guidance related to fully vaccinated people.

    • The guidance document sets a higher standard for healthcare settings, but we are informed that veterinary medicine can follow the more general guidelines for non-healthcare businesses.
    • You may designate just part of your establishment as a zone for fully-vaccinated people, and separate that from work areas for unvaccinated people.
    • You may also continue to operate using curbside intake, and this may be your only option if you are not able to meet the other requirements in the new guidelines. In this situation would still be able to say to clients that you are continuing curbside intake as it is the only practical way for you to continue to comply with NYS and CDC guidelines.

    For more detailed information, please visit our Covid FAQ. If you don't see the answer to your question there, please contact us. It is likely that others will have the same question, so this will give us an opportunity to add more information.


    Timothy Atkinson

  • 2.  RE: NYS Curbside Mandate Lifted

    Posted 05-24-2021 17:47
    What are requirements for asking about a person's COVID vaccination status? I've had clients become upset when I ask them if they are COVID vaccinated or not. If we are to allow vaccinated individuals into our offices, then we need to know their vaccine status. Some clarification and suggestions appreciated.

    Liane Underwood
    Little Friends Veterinary Services, PLLC
    Lyons Falls

  • 3.  RE: NYS Curbside Mandate Lifted

    Posted 05-24-2021 17:52
    The guidelines are very clear that all businesses must require proof of vaccination if they do not follow a 6 feet social distancing policy

    "fully vaccinated individuals do not need to maintain social distance, businesses may eliminate the 6 feet of required social distancing, and therefore increase capacity, only if all patrons within the establishment -- or a separate designated part of the establishment -- present proof of full vaccination status. Proof of full vaccination status can be provided by patrons through paper form, digital application, or the State's Excelsior Pass.

    For areas where vaccination status of individuals is unknown and for patrons who do not present proof of full vaccination status, the required social distance of 6 feet still applies until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. This change will apply across all commercial settings, except the exempt settings outlined by the CDC."

    This applies to all businesses, not just veterinary hospitals, so clients should get pretty used to showing proof soon.

    Timothy Atkinson

  • 4.  RE: NYS Curbside Mandate Lifted

    Posted 05-25-2021 09:17
    We are being told by management that it's "illegal" to ask clients (or staff)  if they've been vaccinated, let alone ask for proof. I don't know if they're referring to HIPAA or some other privacy law. If that's not true, how do I prove it to them?

    M. Denise Corcoran
    Veterinary Medical Center
    Endwell NY

  • 5.  RE: NYS Curbside Mandate Lifted

    Posted 05-25-2021 09:55
    Great question.

    1. ADA considerations
    Here is an article from the Society for Human Resources Managers

    In relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    " ...employers should be careful not to ask for more information than is necessary...simply asking for proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is permissible under the ADA because it is not likely to prompt the employee to provide disability-related information....EEOC doesn't consider questions about vaccination status to be medical inquiries..."

    Here is the full EEOC document on Covid related inquiries

    2. HIPPA considerations
    HIPAA, also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and its subsequently added Privacy Rule include provisions to protect a person's identifying health information from being shared without their knowledge or consent. The law, though, only applies to specific health-related entities, such as insurance providers, health-care clearinghouses, health-care providers and their business associates.

    You can find a list of covered entities on the HIPPA site. This does not include animal hospitals.

    Also note that in its guidance for

    In terms of asking clients, New York State is positively encouraging businesses to ask for vaccination status and is actively providing tools to make it possible

    In addition, when NY State passed the law that entitles employees to receive Covid-19 vaccination paid leave, they issued guidelines that do not prohibit employers from requiring proof of vaccination before paying leave.
    Q: CAN AN EMPLOYER REQUIRE PROOF OF VACCINATION TO ALLOW AN EMPLOYEE TO CLAIM THIS PAID LEAVE PERIOD?The law does not prevent an employer from requiring proof of vaccination. However, employers are encouraged to consider any confidentiality requirements applicable to such records prior to requesting proof of vaccination.

    Timothy Atkinson