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Assembly Measures to Support Cleaning and Sanitization Efforts in Schools, Healthcare Facilities Move Forward

Aiming to help schools and healthcare facilities meet increased sanitization needs during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee and the full Assembly passed two measures on Monday.

The first bill (A-3839), sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Carter (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union), Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Morris, Somerset, Union) and Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson) would make a supplemental appropriation of up to $20 million from the General Fund to the Department of Education. The funds would be dispersed to public, charter and private schools that apply for aid to cover cleaning supplies and increased personnel costs. The bill passed the Assembly 65-0.

Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) sponsor the second measure (A-3856), which would make a supplemental appropriation of $10 million from the General Fund to assist certain healthcare and residential facilities with increased cleaning and sanitization during the outbreak. Facilities eligible for the grant include nursing homes, homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, urgent care, retirement centers and state psychiatric hospitals. The Assembly voted in favor, 65-0.

The sponsors released the following statements:

Assemblywoman Carter: “While we don’t know enough about COVID-19, the CDC notes that the virus can live on surfaces for hours to days. That’s why it’s so important that public facilities are cleaned and disinfected frequently and thoroughly. This is a common sense bill that will go a long way in preventing further spread of COVID-19.”

Assemblyman Bramnick: “Now isn’t the time to leave people without the proper tools needed to combat this epidemic.  Sanitization a necessary step in ensuring we slow the progression of COVID-19.  We need to protect our residents and those working in public facilities by ensuring these facilities are carefully disinfected and completely sanitized. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is vitally important and working together will face this situation head-on and make sure our residents are safeguarded.”

Assemblyman Chiaravalloti: “Cleaning and sanitization of schools has never been more important. It will take a village to ensure our schools are properly cleaned and disinfected. This legislation will help schools have access to the supplies and staff they need to amplify cleaning efforts and reduce the threat of COVID-19 in our school communities.”

Assemblywoman Downey: “To combat this pandemic, we’re going to need to step up our cleaning and sanitization efforts in all public places. It’s even more critical in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that house our elderly and sick populations that may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. Ensuring areas are cleaned and disinfected on a more frequent basis is one of our best defenses against this virus.”

Assemblyman Wimberly: “During any public health emergency, we must not forget about our most vulnerable populations like seniors, hospital patients and homeless people. By providing financial aid to healthcare facilities and social service centers to expand their cleaning and sanitization regimens, we will help protect these communities from the threat of COVID-19.”