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OGS announces visitor access changes to State Capitol, Legislative Office Building due to COVID


Mon, Jan 10th 2022 11:10 am

Visitors required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test result received within past 48 hours

Due to the evolving concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 virus) and the omicron variant, the Office of General Services on Saturday announced it is implementing new rules for visitors that will be in effect as of today at the Capitol and Legislative Office Building in Albany. It said these restrictions are to ensure the health and well-being of all employees and the public during the 2022 legislative session. 

Effective Jan. 10, the legislative office building (LOB) will be closed until further notice as a necessary precaution in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Access to the New York State Capitol will be limited to visitors who are fully vaccinated or visitors who provide proof of a negative coronavirus test within the past 48 hours. Proof must be shown along with valid identification before entry. Masks will be required at all times, and there will be limited capacity in the Capitol to align with social distancing best practices. 

The OGS will evaluate the implementation of these restrictions, capacity expectations, and ongoing developments regarding COVID-19.

All visitors will be required to enter the Capitol from the Empire State Plaza concourse level.

Authorized state employees and others with state-issued access cards will continue to access both buildings via all normal entrances, turnstiles and portals. The New York State Police will continue to staff all security screening access points, including at the Empire State Plaza concourse, LOB State Street, Capitol State Street, and Capitol Washington Avenue entrances. 

Members of the public attending to official business with the executive chamber, the attorney general, the State Legislature, or the Division of the Budget must meet the same criteria as visitors. All visitors and members of the general public must abide by the newly established protocols, and those with scheduled business with tenants are encouraged to call ahead to confirm their appointments.

Guest Authorization Procedure/Protocol

Upon arrival at a security screening access point, visitors must provide valid identification to State Police personnel who will verify an individual’s full vaccination status; this applies to all guests ages 5 and older. 

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when at least two weeks have passed after receiving either: 

√ The second dose in a two-dose series (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna); or

√ A single-dose vaccine (i.e., Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

Personal identification with name and photo or date of birth is also required for visitors ages 18 and older. 

Examples of accepted forms of identification include a valid:

√ Driver’s license;

√ Non-driver government ID card; or

√ Passport.

Proof of vaccination may include: 

√ Excelsior Pass; 

√ Excelsior Pass Plus; 

√ SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York state; 

√ Full-course vaccination through NYC COVID Safe app; 

√ A CDC vaccination card; or

√ Other official immunization record.

Those who received the vaccine outside the U.S. must have an official immunization record that includes: 

√ First name and last name;

√ Date of birth;

√ Vaccine product name (only vaccines authorized by the FDA or WHO are acceptable); 

√ Date(s) administered; and

√ Site where the vaccine was administered or the name of the person who administered it.

When presenting proof of a negative coronavirus test: 

√ Results can be a printed copy or on a phone (e.g., digital health record or email or text message from a test provider or laboratory); and

√ Personal identification with a name and photo or date of birth is also required for visitors ages 18 and older and must match the information on the negative test result. 

In addition, OGS stated, “these simple steps can help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” including: 

√ Staying home when you are sick.

√ Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

√ Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

√ Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.

√ Avoiding close contact with people who are sick. 

For more on New York state’s response to novel coronavirus, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/.

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