As we advised you last week, the state of New York is just one of several state and local governments that have recently dropped masking mandates as COVID infections from the omicron variant decline across the country. At the same time however, New York has extended the application of the so-called HEROES Act for another month – through March 17, 2022 at the earliest. Renewing the designation of the COVID-19 virus as a “highly contagious communicable disease” keeps the provisions of the Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) in full force and effect. Now extended for another month – through March 17 – that designation triggers obligations for New York employers to keep their airborne infectious disease prevention plans up to date and in effect. Elsewhere, despite the federal government continuing to push vaccine and masking mandates on government employees, the District of Columbia is quickly easing its covid restrictions. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday that she was lifting DC’s vaccine passport requirement for indoor patrons of restaurants and certain other businesses immediately with additional plans to lift its mask mandate effective on March 1, 2022. And early this week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) issued an advisory relaxing its mask guidance for fully vaccinated individuals in most indoor settings, citing recent positive progress on COVID-19 indicators. DPH’s updated mask guidance replaces its December 2021 advisory recommending that all Massachusetts residents wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Watch for more updates on vaccine or mask mandates to come.