Coronavirus News: Cuomo proposes hazard pay for front-line workers

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a 50% bonus for police, firefighters, medical personnel, mass transit employees and other essential workers on the front-lines of coronavirus.

"They are carrying us through this crisis and the crisis is not over. If you look at who they are and the equity and fairness of what is happening, I think any reasonable person would say we should right this wrong," Cuomo said.

He said 41% of the frontline workers are people of color, which includes 45% of public transit workers, 57% building cleaning service workers and 40% of healthcare workers.

"The economy closed down. The economy did not close down. It closed down for those people that have the luxury of staying at home. The people that put food the shelves and to provide health care and the police officer that had to go out to keep you safe and the firefighter who still had to go out and fight the fire, those people worked and they went out and exposed themselves to the virus. 2/3 of those front line workers are women. One-third come from low income households so they have been doing this work. They have been stressed. They are going home to a household that has two wage earners, one is now not working but living on that one salary. And after all that, we see the infection rate among African-Americans and brown Americans higher proportionately than other groups. Why? Because they are exposing themselves," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said while funding businesses impacted by coronavirus is also important, "teachers and police officers and firefighters and transit workers and health care workers and nursing home staff" are equally important.

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