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New Yorkers traveling to high-risk states ineligible for COVID-19 paid sick leave

The governor says any New Yorkers engaging in non-essential travel to COVID-19 hot spots around the country will not receive COVID-19 paid sick leave benefits.

NEW YORK — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued another executive order Saturday morning stating that any New York employee who engages in non-essential travel to COVID-19 high-risk states will not receive paid sick leave benefits from New York's COVID-19 paid sick leave law.

The governor says anyone engaging in non-essential travel to a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents — or higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average — will forgo their paid sick leave benefits as of June 25.

However, this does not apply to employees traveling for work at an employer's request.

This provision has been included in Executive Order 202.45, which makes New Yorkers ineligible for paid sick leave if they travel to any country that has a level two or three travel health notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This announcement comes after Cuomo signed an executive order earlier in the week requiring anyone traveling to New York State from a high risk state to quarantine for 14 days. 

The governor also announced on Saturday that there has been a potential COVID-19 exposure at a high school graduation ceremony in Westchester County after an individual traveled to Florida.

After the individual attended the ceremony, they began showing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Cuomo says four more individuals who attended the ceremony and had contact with that individual have also tested positive.

The New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Health Department are both working to identify everyone that attended the graduation ceremony and any subsequent gatherings where they may have been exposed.

"New Yorkers have controlled the spread of this unprecedented virus by being smart and disciplined, and our progress to date is illustrated by the current low numbers of new cases and hospitalizations," Governor Cuomo said.

"But as we are seeing in other states who reopened quickly, the pandemic is far from over and we need stay vigilant. We're prepared to do the aggressive testing and contact tracing required to slow and ultimately control any potential clusters of new cases like the one in Westchester County.

"If we are going to maintain the progress we've seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility. That's why I'm issuing an executive order that says any New York employee who voluntarily travels to a high-risk state will not be eligible for the COVID protections we created under paid sick leave."

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