Agudath Israel of America is grateful to Governor Andrew Cuomo for instituting a pilot program towards eventually allowing visitors in hospitals statewide. Sixteen hospitals across the state will take part in the two-week pilot program and will allow visitation for family members of patients, with the visitors wearing PPE and being checked for COVID-19 symptoms. A number of the hospitals in the pilot program serve Agudath Israel’s constituency, and we applaud their being included.

This issue has been at the forefront of Agudath Israel’s concern for weeks, as patients have been denied helpers and visitors by hospital administrations while being hospitalized, harming their physical and emotional well-being. Agudath Israel has worked with partners in the faith and advocacy communities in bringing this to the attention of Albany’s lawmakers.

To that end, we also applaud the legislators across the state who have come together in a bi-partisan effort to promote a “Compassionate Helper” program and protocol, which speaks to the same need that is being addressed now. We are grateful that Governor Cuomo has taken note of this and that the hospitals are working toward immediately implementing this positive step.