Labor secretary: 'I believe we can continue to reopen our workplaces safely'

Labor secretary: 'I believe we can continue to reopen our workplaces safely'
© Greg Nash

Labor Secretary Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaFederal litigator files complaint alleging Labor secretary abused his authority Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Making a difference in the age of COVID-19 MORE echoed the White House on Sunday, saying that despite the increasing coronavirus cases, workplaces could be reopened safely if proper precautions are followed.

Scalia, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” touted last week's “extraordinary jobs report” showing 5 million jobs were added in June.

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Asked by guest host Mike Emanuel whether the continued spike in cases could lead to many of those businesses having to close their doors again, Scalia responded: “We have new cases, we have to keep an eye on that, [but] I believe we can continue to reopen our workplaces safely.”

“Our workplaces can be very safe places to be but there are precautions that the president and vice president have underscored and those do remain important,” he added. “We’ve gotten a reminder of that over the last couple of weeks.”

The Labor secretary acknowledged that “there remain many Americans still out of work,” adding “that’s why the president is talking about potentially additional tax cuts.”

“It is going to be important that people take social distancing seriously, wear masks in circumstances where they’re not able to social distance and the like,” Scalia added. “We can reopen safely, we can reopen while the virus is still there but it will get more challenging if people don’t take that seriously.”

Scalia was similarly optimistic about the health-care system’s capacity to deal with the surge in cases, even as cities like Houston report that their intensive care units have reached capacity.

“We knew that as people came out of their homes, emerged from their basements and the like, we knew that cases would go up,” Scalia said. “We are far better prepared to deal with those cases now than we were a few months ago … we have the equipment, the hospital beds to deal with this situation.”

“This is something that we can manage,” he added.