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Public Health Task Force Outlines Immediate COVID-19 Demands For Mass. Workers, Immigrants

Citing heightened risks that low-wage workers and immigrants face during the coronavirus outbreak, a coalition of public health experts and activists called Friday for officials to ensure equity in the state's response to the virus.

Members of an emergency task force the Massachusetts Public Health Association convened on Tuesday said in a briefing that legislative and administrative action needs to go further to protect the state's most vulnerable residents.

The task force plans to continue to push on other topics but hopes to see four policies enacted in the "very immediate future," said MHPA Executive Director Carlene Pavlos.

The task force demanded that state officials ensure immigrants can safely access COVID-19 testing and treatment, increase access to quarantine for those experiencing homelessness, offer emergency paid sick time for all workers during the crisis, and temporarily pause all evictions, foreclosures and termination of benefits.

"Low-wage workers are our first line of defense against COVID-19, but they're feeling the greatest economic impact of this outbreak," said Pablo Ruiz, deputy director of the SEIU state council and co-chair of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition.

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