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We can’t reopen without paid medical leave

During this pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure everyone has access to paid medical and family leave, so they can care for their own health, the health of a loved one, or simply provide care in the absence of school and traditional child care centers.

The HEROES Act would close the loopholes from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that exclude millions of American workers, including frontline essential workers, from accessing paid leave. Without paid leave, workers are more likely to go to work sick out of fear of losing their jobs and put their own health and health of their families at risk.

As our country faces the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, many workers are already struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford to lose a paycheck.

The bottom line is we cannot safely reopen our economy without paid family and medical leave.

We’re already seeing COVID-19 numbers spike in states that are reopening, and, without paid leave, the toll of the virus will be more than we can bear.

MARY O’NEILL,

Presque Isle

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