Inform your patients that you are no longer open for non-urgent care and that you will contact patients to reschedule appointments when your office re-opens.
Inform your patients that you remain open for urgent care and that patients should call the office prior to coming in for urgent care. Publicize your emergency number and other contact information. If the situation is life-threatening, refer the patient to the emergency room or have them call 911.
If you close your office entirely, you have a duty to inform all of your patients of record. Calls must be covered, even if that means employing an answering service. Referrals must be made. You must comply with HIPAA and New York State requirements to provide patients with access to their patient records even if closed.
Again, if the situation is life-threatening, refer the patient to the emergency room or have them call 911.
As far as paying your employees, there is no law either state or federal – and no pending law under any consideration – that is looking at helping with the voluntary closure of your office. If you close your office and your employees are not being paid, they can apply for unemployment insurance benefits. Dental office with 50 or more employees are subject to the New York State WARN Act and cannot just close/lay off employees without complying with stringent notice and other requirements.