NYC Imposes Covid-19 Vaccine—Or Weekly Test—Mandate For 340,000 City Workers
New York City will require all of its municipal workers—including firefighters, police officers and teachers—to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or test weekly for the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday, making the city the largest in the U.S. to impose a vaccination mandate as the highly transmissible Delta variant causes a new spike in Covid-19 cases.
The plan, which the New York Times reports will affect approximately 340,000 workers, will require workers to be vaccinated or be tested weekly as of September 13, to coincide with the start of the school year.
Some employees who work in residential and congregate settings—approximately 45,000 workers—will be subject to the plan starting August 16.
All unvaccinated workers will be required to wear masks indoors as of Monday, de Blasio said, or “there will unfortunately will have to be consequences.”
The city previously announced Wednesday workers at city-run hospitals and health clinics would have to get vaccinated or submit to weekly tests, which will be required as of August 2.
De Blasio has also urged private employers to mandate vaccines for their workers, reiterating Monday they should “go as far as you can go right now” and impose a vaccine mandate “whenever possible.”
“If people want freedom, if people want jobs, if people want to live again, we have got to get more people vaccinated,” De Blasio said Friday on WNYC. “And obviously it’s time for whatever mandates we can achieve.”
59%. That’s the percentage of the New York City population that’s received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose as of Monday morning, according to the city’s health department, including 70.6% of New York City adults. Covid-19 cases are on the rise in New York City as the Delta variant takes hold, with NBC reporting cases in the city have gone up by 327% since June 25, and most recorded cases have been among unvaccinated people.
What To Watch For
De Blasio has said in recent days he’s opposed to reimplementing a mask mandate in the city, believing vaccinations are instead a better strategy. The mayor has suggested the city could potentially impose requiring some sort of Covid-19 pass showing proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter public spaces, however, saying he would “seriously consider” a policy like the one now being used in France.
Covid-19 vaccine requirements for workers has become a growing and controversial issue as vaccine hesitancy rates in the U.S. have remained stubbornly high. A number of private employers have taken strong stances on vaccinations, with Morgan Stanley and BlackRock announcing their offices will be open to vaccinated workers only and United Airlines and Delta Air Lines both imposing a vaccine mandate for new hires. In addition to New York City, San Francisco also mandated vaccines for municipal workers, and Pasadena said it will require vaccines for city workers once they receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The mandates have garnered significant criticism but have so far proven to be legally permissible, with unvaccinated workers at Houston Methodist Hospital losing a legal battle against the hospital’s mandates and Indiana University’s mandate for students and staff being upheld in federal court. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said federal law does not prohibit employers from mandating vaccines.
New York is expected to require city workers to be vaccinated by mid-September. (New York Times)
Here Are The Companies Upping Pressure On Workers To Get Vaccinated Against Covid (Forbes)
Employers Can Require Workers To Get Vaccinated, Government Says (Forbes)
Democratic Leaders Resist Calls To Reimpose Mask Mandates Amid Delta Threat (Forbes)