Frequently Asked Questions – NY HERO Act

On September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the New York HERO Act. This designation requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans.

The FAQs being provided by NYSAR are based upon information provided by the New York State Department of Labor and opinion of outside counsel for complying with the HERO Act.  NYSAR’s role is to provide information in the best interest of all of our members in every part of New York, and where specific guidance is not provided, we offer the narrowest possible interpretation so as not to expose members to potential liability, as well as preventing the spread of COVID-19.

For a .pdf version of the new NYSAR COVID-19 Disclosure formclick here.

For a word version of the new NYSAR COVID-19 Disclosure formclick here.

For a word version of the new NYSAR Health Screening form click here.

For a .pdf version of the new NYSAR Health Screening form click here.



The HERO Act becomes effective when the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”) designates an airborne infectious disease as “a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” This was done on September 6, 2021.

The law mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the NY HERO Act is to protect employees against exposure and disease during an airborne infectious disease outbreak.

Under this new law, the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL), in cooperation with the NYS Department of Health, has developed a new standard, a model plan or general industry template, and 11 industry-specific

model plans for the prevention of airborne infectious disease. Employers can choose to adopt the applicable policy template/plan provided by NYS DOL or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the standard’s minimum requirements.

This plan must go into effect when an airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. The standard is subject to any additional or greater requirements arising from a declaration of a state of emergency due to an airborne infectious disease, as well as any applicable federal standards.


The law covers all non-governmental industries across New York and work sites where real estate activities take place.  The NY HERO Act does not cover telework or any work site that the employer does not have the ability to control.

The definition of a “worksite” in the NY HERO Act is “any physical space, including a vehicle, that has been designated as the location where work is performed over which an employer has the ability to exercise control.”

A broker’s office or association office would qualify as a “worksite” under the law.

Individuals participating in sales activities, such as meeting with clients or showing a house, could be viewed as being a worksite.  Licensees should continue socially distancing as much as possible, wear face coverings, disinfect highly touched surfaces and monitor individuals attending a showing/open house for contact tracing.

This plan applies to all “employees” as defined by the New York State HERO Act, which means any person providing labor or services for remuneration for a private entity or business within the state including independent contractors.

The term also includes individuals working for digital applications or platforms, staffing agencies, contractors or subcontractors on behalf of the employer at any individual work site, as well as any individual delivering goods or transporting people at, to or from the work site on behalf of the employer, regardless of whether delivery or transport is conducted by an individual or entity that would otherwise be deemed an employer under this chapter.

According to the “NY HERO ACT Model Airborne Infectious Disease

Exposure Prevention Plan” provided by the NYSDOL:

During an airborne infectious disease outbreak, the following minimum controls will be used in all areas of the worksite:

General Awareness: Individuals may not be aware that they have the infectious disease and can spread it to others. Employees should remember to:

    • Maintain physical distancing;
    • Exercise coughing/sneezing etiquette;
    • Wear face coverings, gloves, and personal protective equipment (PPE), as appropriate;
    • Individuals limit what they touch;
    • Stop social etiquette behaviors such as hugging and hand shaking, and
    • Wash hands properly and often.

 “Stay at Home Policy”: If an employee develops symptoms of the infectious disease, the employee should not be in the workplace. The employee should inform the designated contact and follow New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH)and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance regarding obtaining medical care and isolating.

 Health Screening: Employees will be screened for symptoms of the infectious disease at the beginning of their shift. Employees are to self-monitor throughout their shift and report any new or emerging signs or symptoms of the infectious disease to the designated contact. An employee showing signs or symptoms of the infectious disease should be removed from the workplace and should contact a healthcare professional for instructions. The health screening elements will follow guidance from NYSDOH and CDC guidance, if available.

 Face Coverings: When in use, face coverings must cover the nose and mouth, and fit snugly, but comfortably, against the face. The face covering itself must not create a hazard (e.g., have features could get caught in machinery or cause severe fogging of eyewear). The face coverings must be kept clean and sanitary and changed when soiled, contaminated, or damaged.

    • Effective February 10, 2022: Employees will wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with guidance from State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable. Consistent with the guidance from the State Department of Health, if indoor areas do not have a mask or vaccine requirement as a condition of entry, appropriate face coverings are recommended, but not required. It is also recommended that face coverings be worn by unvaccinated individuals, including those with medical exemptions, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Further, public transit, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, health care, childcare, group homes, and other sensitive settings in accordance with CDC guidelines. New York State and the State Department of Health continue to strongly recommend face coverings in all public indoor settings as an added layer of protection, even when not required.

      Effective March 2, 2022: Governor Hochul announced plans to end the state mask requirement in schools.

Physical Distancing: Physical distancing will be used, to the extent feasible, as advised by guidance from State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable in situations where prolonged close contact with other individuals is likely, use the following control methods: (Note to employer: Check off the controls you intend to use and add any additional controls not listed here.)

  • restricting or limiting customer or visitor entry;
  • limiting occupancy;
  • allowing only one person at a time inside small enclosed spaces with poor ventilation;
  • reconfiguring workspaces;
  • physical barriers;
  • signage;
  • floor markings;
  • telecommuting;
  • remote meetings;
  • preventing gatherings;
  • restricting travel;
  • creating new work shifts and/or staggering work hours;
  • adjusting break times and lunch periods;
  • delivering services remotely or through curb-side pickup.

Hand Hygiene: To prevent the spread of infection, employees should wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands BEFORE and AFTER:Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth;

  • Touching your mask;
  • Entering and leaving a public place; and
  • Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens.
  • Because hand sanitizers are less effective on soiled hands, wash hands rather than using hand sanitizer when your hands are soiled.

Cleaning and Disinfection: See Section V of this plan.

“Respiratory Etiquette”: Because infectious diseases can be spread by droplets expelled from the mouth and nose, employees should exercise appropriate respiratory etiquette by covering nose and mouth when sneezing, coughing or yawning.

Special Accommodations for Individuals with Added Risk Factors: Some employees, due to age, underlying health condition, or other factors, may be at increased risk of severe illness if infected. Please inform your supervisor or the HR department if you fall within this group and need an accommodation.


For the HERO Act homepage from NYSDOL including links to the Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard and Plan, click here.

For information and FAQ’s, click here.

Below, please find instructions on how to use the Phase 2 form:

  • The form is OPTIONAL
  • You must have the permission of your broker before utilizing the form.  Your broker may require you to either: a) use the NYSAR form; b) use a form the broker had prepared; or c) not use any form.
  • The form has been provided to local boards, MLS’ and brokers previously and they may have released the form already with their name and/or logo.
  • Licensees should present the form to the seller or buyer in the same manner an agency disclosure form is presented.
  • The COVID-19 Disclosure form notifies the seller and buyer of the risks associated with permitting an individual to enter the property or by entering another individual’s property.
  • By signing the form, the seller or buyer acknowledge that by permitting such access or by accessing the property they assume the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19.  Licensees should explain to the seller and/or buyer that the form outlines the risks of COVID-19 exposure and by signing the form they are acknowledging and assuming such risks.
  • Licensees should have the seller and/or buyer sign the form, print their name next to their signature and provide a signed copy to the seller or buyer and retain a signed copy for the brokers file.
  • The form may be delivered in any manner currently permitted (paper, electronic transmission).
  • A copy of the COVID-19 Disclosure form can be found HERE.

A Word copy of the COVID-19 Disclosure form with a co-branding area can be downloaded HERE.

In the event the seller and/or buyer is exposed to COVID-19 as a result of permitting or gaining access to the property, the form acts as a disclosure notice outlining the risks and having the party acknowledge that they are assuming such risk through their actions.  If a licensee and/or broker were named in a lawsuit alleging exposure to COVID-19 by the seller and/or buyer (or a member of their household), the form could be used to show the seller and/or buyer were aware of the risks and assumed the risk of permitting access or gaining access to the property.

Licensees should follow the same procedure when a consumer refuses to sign an agency disclosure form.  If the seller and/or buyer refuse to sign the form, the agent shall set forth a written declaration of the facts of the refusal and shall maintain a copy for the broker’s file.

Yes, the seller/landlord can require compliance with both the COVID-19 Disclosure Form as a prerequisite before the showing.  Consumers are not required to sign the COVID-19 Disclosure form or answer the screening questions and if all parties are comfortable with that, a showing may occur.

If a seller/buyer/landlord/tenant answers yes to any question, it would be up to the parties as to whether they want to continue with the in-person showing assessing what risks they may be taking.  For instance, a buyer is a health care worker and is exposed to COVID-19 as a result of their occupation.  That would not disqualify them from the in-person showing if the seller is comfortable with the precautions being taken.  If they are not comfortable, a licensee would not be required to conduct an in-person showing if any of the questions were answered “yes”.  This would be a scenario where it would be prudent to utilize the COVID-19 Disclosure Form.