York State Bar Association is offering its assistance to policymakers and
health authorities as the state prepares to deal with its first case of COVID-19,
more commonly known as the novel coronavirus. It is one of the association’s core
missions to serve as a resource for New Yorkers and state policymakers on
substantive issues of the day.
Andrew Cuomo confirmed Sunday night that a Manhattan woman who traveled to Iran
has tested positive for the virus. She has respiratory symptoms and is
remaining in isolation at home.
The bar association’s
Health Law Section has begun an in-depth study of the public policy and legal
issues arising from the threat of an epidemic in New York. Hermes Fernandez,
the chair of the Health Law Section and the co-chair of Bond, Schoeneck &
King’s Health Law Group, will be speaking publicly about these efforts and also
will appear next week in a special edition of the Miranda Warnings podcast.
Greenberg, president of the New York State Bar Association and the former
general counsel of the New York State Department of Health, pledged that the
association will do everything in its power to help establish legal protocols
that protect public health.
aware of the numerous legal issues that could arise in dealing with an
epidemic, if one were to occur,” he said. “The public health response must
balance individual rights with the need to keep New Yorkers safe.”
is presenting a host of public health issues,” Fernandez added. “Public health
officials are still learning what they are facing.”
State’s Commissioner of Health has declared COVID-19 a communicable disease. This
declaration authorizes the Department of Health to take many steps, according
to Greenberg, though thus far, it is relying on reporting, tracking, education
NYSBA’s role as a resource for public policymakers even more crucial, Greenberg
federal level, the United States is refusing or limiting entry to foreigners who
have been in China and Iran. The federal government has also restricted the
reentry of American citizens, imposing time-limited quarantines on citizens who
have found themselves in unexpected and unfortunate circumstances.
Italy have resorted to coercive measures to check the disease's spread,
imposing quarantines on entire municipalities” Fernandez explained.
who is available for media interviews, further detailed some of the legal
implications that the Health Law Section will examine.
the potential for national origin discrimination unrelated to actual disease
exposure,” he said. “There will likely be commercial disputes from supply chain
disruptions, travel restrictions and forced closings of venues.
“The need to
prevent the spread of the disease will impact the employer/employee relationship,”
Fernandez continued. “There are likely
to be issues regarding restricting ill or merely exposed students from
attending schools. Schools themselves may close.”
information and resources relating to the coronavirus — including guidelines
for travelers to other countries – are available from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The U.S. Department of State also has important details for
travelers regarding the coronavirus. Additional helpful information can
be obtained from the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health.
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Susan DeSantis