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Governor’s Emergency Declaration Is Terminated: Remote Notarization Ends, Virtual Annual Meetings Continue

Effective June 25, 2021, Governor Cuomo has terminated the state of emergency that was in effect in New York State since March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the executive orders modifying or suspending various provisions of law and regulations have also terminated. These include the authorization for notarization of documents to be conducted by video conference. Although permanent legislation to authorize remote notarization has been proposed, it has not been enacted.

Cooperatives are permitted to conduct shareholder meetings, including annual meetings, by fully remote means until December 31, 2021, under an amendment to the Business Corporation Law (BCL) that was enacted last year. Although the legislation does not specifically mention condominiums, we are not aware of any instance in which a condominium unit owners’ meeting has been challenged on the ground that it was conducted remotely. Permanent legislation authorizing fully remote shareholder meetings has not been enacted. However, another amendment, adopted before the pandemic, permanently authorizes partially remote shareholder meetings, in which the meeting is conducted in a physical location but shareholders who do not attend in person can participate remotely and be counted toward a quorum.

The end of the state of emergency does not limit the authority of cooperative or condominium boards to voluntarily continue reasonable restrictions motivated by health and safety considerations. It also does not affect other state or federal regulations that continue in effect, including those mandating mask-wearing in certain locations including on public transportation.