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New York hotel workers seek COVID-19 vaccine in appeal to Cuomo

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vaccine 1

They want to check in — for a vaccine.

The hotel industry is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to designate its staffers as crucial front-line workers so they can be vaccinated against COVID-19.

More than 400 members of the Hotel Trades Council died after getting infected with COVID-19, and union sources claim many employees contracted the killer virus on the job.

Hotel workers are at risk because the facilities that remain open have been used to house recovering COVID-19 patients, people in quarantine and homeless individuals, the advocates argue.

“Hotel workers are essential workers who have been working on the frontlines throughout this pandemic. They’ve been serving high-risk populations like quarantining travelers and COVID-exposed and other high-risk populations,” said Hotel Trades Council President Rich Maroko.

“Over 400 of them have died and thousands more have been sickened, including dozens who have been sickened in just the past few weeks of this year. Hotel workers deserve to be protected as they continue to perform their essential functions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week updated its vaccine guidance to add workers of “Traveler Accommodation” for Phase 1C eligibility.

New York technically remains in 1B of its own eligibility categories, but has already updated that to include others listed in the CDC’s 1C group — including taxi drivers.

Hotel industry insiders note that 80 percent Hotel Trades Council workers are people of color who are deemed at a higher risk to catching COVID-19.

Vijay Dandapani, president of the Hotel Association of New York City, said industry executives have also been pushing Albany to give the green light to vaccinate their staffers.

“We are absolutely in favor of hotel workers receiving COVID vaccines as essential workers, and we have raised the issue with government,” Dandapani said.

Cuomo’s office indicated it was open to the request.

“We are working our way through our current universe of eligible New Yorkers and are examining next steps in the event that federal vaccine supply increases,” said Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor.

Currently, Empire State residents age 65 and older are eligible to get inoculated along with individuals with underlying medical issues.

Front-line or essential workers also already eligible for vaccination include police, fire and ambulance workers, teachers, restaurant workers, court officers, prison and parole officers, transit and airport workers, funeral workers, health care workers and staff and residents of nursing homes.

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