The New York State Nurses Association on Sunday evening cheered Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to issue an order requiring employers to provide essential workers with face masks when interacting with the public. 

The personal protective equipment shortage has been felt acutely among nurses during the coronavirus pandemic as medical grade supplies have been difficult to come by at hospitals statewide. 

Some health care workers have been told to reuse masks in order to preserve the limited supply.

"Nurses and healthcare professionals are getting sick from their exposure to COVID-19 in the hospitals," said Pat Kane, RN, and the group’s executive director. "The safety of healthcare workers is a cornerstone in the war against COVID-19. With their safety comes the full attention of a professional workforce dedicated to caring for our patients and eradicating the virus in our communities.”

The order was first announced Sunday by Cuomo during his daily briefing. The move would require workers be given cloth or medical masks to wear, covering essential workers including those in the health care field, to prevent the spread of the virus.