A new Executive Order says essential workers are entitled to free face masks from their employers in New York State.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Sunday, April 12, 2020, that he will issue an Executive Order directing "employers to provide essential workers with cloth or surgical masks free of charge to wear when directly interacting with the public."

Employers who are still open for business must supply employees with free face masks if they are associating with the public. Here's a portion of the Executive Order.

“For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law. This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.”

The new order mandates employers must provide protection against the coronavirus.  The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are challenging to maintain like grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and restaurants offering take out.

The use of a face mask can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

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