Governor Kathy Hochul announced this morning that masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. She stated that the decision was based on the State's weekly seven-day case rate as well as increasing hospitalizations. The new business and venue requirements extend to both patrons and staff. This measure is effective from Dec. 13, 2021 until Jan. 15, 2022, after which the State will re-evaluate based on current conditions. The Governor stated that the new measure will bring added layers of mitigation during the holidays when more time is spent indoors shopping, gathering, and visiting holiday-themed destinations. A violation of any provision of this measure is subject to all civil and criminal penalties, including a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation. Local health departments are being asked to enforce these requirements. Business/Venue Proof of Full-Course Vaccination Requirement Businesses and venues that implement a proof of vaccination requirement can accept Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus, SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York State, or a CDC Vaccination Card. In accordance with CDC's definition of fully vaccinated, full-course vaccination is defined as 14 days past an individual's last vaccination dose in their initial vaccine series (14 days past the second shot of a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine; 14 days past the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine). The State also accepts WHO-approved vaccines for these purposes. Parents and guardians can retrieve and store an Excelsior Pass and/or Excelsior Pass Plus for children or minors under legal guardianship. Business/Venue Mask-Wearing Requirement Businesses and venues that implement a mask requirement must ensure all patrons two years and older wear a mask at all times while indoors. Continued Masking Requirements Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Further, the State's masking requirements continue to be in effect for pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings per CDC guidelines.