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Nurses, Essential Workers Push COVID Safety Bill Amid Second Wave

Posted 12/21/20

"We need this HERO Act to pass because without it, you can’t call us heroes. You may as well just call us suckers, because we have to go into work, because if we don’t, we won’t eat,” said Robert Williams, a chef who worked at an assisted-living facility in Queens throughout the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations increase across the state, Mr. Williams, along with health-care staff, laundry workers and other essential workers, Dec. 17 renewed calls to pass the New York Health and Essential Rights Order, or NY HERO Act. The bill would require the state Health Department and Department of Labor to establish minimum COVID safety standards for workplaces to protect employees. Personal protective equipment, social distancing, sanitizing and testing protocols would all be required.

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