State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell are critical of the New York Health and Essential Rights Act, or HERO Act, that was passed by the State Legislature last week.
The bill requires the state health and labor departments to design minimum standards for health and safety during outbreaks of airborne viruses and all infectious disease outbreaks. It mandates enough personal protective equipment for all employees, and that there be provisions for safe social distancing and standard protocols for disinfecting work spaces.
State Senator Borello said the bill will be a tremendous burden on businesses,
“This law, as it’s written, any infectious disease whatsoever, of course they’re trying to mask it as a COVID-19 preventative measure, but the reality is you’ll be able to sue your employer for any infectious disease that you catch no mater where you caught it. And that’s what really makes this such a burden on our small businesses.”
Assemblyman Goodell says a problem with the act is it applies to any employer, regardless of size,
“It applies even if you hire subcontractors. So if you hire someone to put on a new roof you’re responsible for insuring that they have the proper PPE, maintain social distancing, everything else. It applies if you have personal care aid in your own home.”
Employers who fail to comply with the new regulations, which have not yet been formulated, could face fines of $50-dollars a day, up to $10-thousand dollars.
Both Borrello and Goodell are hoping if Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn’t veto the bill that he will at least implement chapter amendments to fix some of the issues they have.