New York: Bill passed that would require large retail companies to install panic buttons in stores due to crime crisis

The proposed law would come into force in 2027. The National Retail Federation and some large companies such as Walmart have already opposed the measure.

The New York Senate passed a bill requiring retail businesses with more than 500 employees to install panic buttons in their stores to notify emergency services of any incidents that occur, including theft.

The proposal provides that panic buttons must be located in an easily accessible place. Likewise, it adds that store employees should also have a system that includes a switch to turn on an alarm and call emergency services.

The bill awaits the governor's signature

The bill, called "The Retail Worker Safety Act," which was previously approved by the New York Assembly, was sent to the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul for her signature. The Democrat has 10 days to decide whether to enact the bill before it comes into effect by default.

The measure would begin to be applied in 2027 to most of the state's large retail companies (those with more than 500 employees nationwide). The law would also require retailers with 10 or more workers to conduct safety and violence prevention training for employees.

The rule is approved by the state Legislature as the state faces a worsening crime crisis and theft occurring rampantly at retail stores in the state.

Walmart rejects the measure

Walmart, the largest retailer in the country, spoke out against the rule and assured that emergency buttons cause false alarms.

Dan Bartlett, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart, told Reuters that it is not practical for his company to install panic buttons in the nearly 100 stores they have in the state:

eight out of 10 times somebody thinks something's going on, there's actually not.

The National Retail Federation and the New York State Food Industry Alliance have also opposed the measure.