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SPLC Statement on New CDC Guidance Regarding Essential Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement by Meredith Stewart, senior supervising attorney with the Immigrant Justice Project, on the new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance that allow employers to require essential workers - such as home health aides and food processing workers -  who have previously been exposed to COVID-19 to continue to work:
“The CDC Guidance allows employers to force workers to work even after they have been exposed to COVID-19 instead of going into self-quarantine, further jeopardizing these workers’ health and safety, and that of their co-workers and the general public. These workers are already putting their health and safety on the line every day to make sure that the rest of us are taken care of – from providing critical health care services to making sure we have food to eat. They shouldn’t also be forced to go to work if they know they have been exposed to COVID-19. Requiring frontline workers to stay on the job after exposure to the virus puts their health and their co-workers’ health at risk. The guidance clearly was written with companies’ bottom lines in mind instead of the health and safety of the workers who are providing a heroic service to all of us during the pandemic.
“It is deeply disturbing that at this time, when it is painfully clear how crucial the contributions of these workers are, that we continue to knowingly place them in harm’s way and treat them so callously. These workers need more protections right now, not less. We can and must do better.”