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For Immediate Release:

January 11, 2021

Media Contact:

Patrick Nevada ,, 646.866.9065

Essential Workers Can’t Wait for a Vaccine: Governor Cuomo Must Enact Stronger, Enforceable Protections Against COVID Now

New York – Today, in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, ALIGN, a statewide advocacy group coordinating the NY Essential Workers Coalition, released the following statement:

“It’s good to see Governor Cuomo prioritizing the recovery from COVID-19 in his statewide agenda this year and continuing to increase the pace and availability of vaccines against the lethal virus. But let’s be clear: essential workers can’t wait months or even weeks for a vaccine.  They need stronger, enforceable protections against COVID-19 right now as they continue to perform difficult and dangerous jobs that help keep the rest of us safe. That’s why Cuomo should work with the state legislature to enact the NY HERO Act right away. This crucial state legislation would create immediately enforceable health and safety protections for all essential workers across the state,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN.  

“New York’s essential workers and businesses are facing even greater risks as we enter the darkest and deadliest days of the pandemic. Indeed, new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are surging, and a new, more infectious strain of the virus is actively circulating here in New York. If passed and implemented quickly, the NY HERO Act would give New York’s essential workers and businesses much stronger health and safety protections on-the-job that can help protect them against COVID-19. We urge Governor Cuomo to fast-track the NY HERO Act and partner with the state legislature to get it passed this month,” said Silva-Farrell of ALIGN.  

The NY HERO Act ensures that workers, communities, and businesses are protected by providing clear and enforceable protocols on COVID-19 testing, face masks, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls on air circulation and ventilation. It creates enforceable standards, not just guidelines, to ensure that essential workers and businesses their workplace can minimize the spread of COVID-19 right away.

Silva-Farrell and ALIGN coordinate the NY Essential Workers Coalition, a coalition of 65 unions, worker centers, and community organizations representing millions of workers across the state who are calling for passage of the NY HERO Act.

More information on the NY HERO Act is here: