Beginning in mid-September, New York City will require all of its 340,000 municipal workers, including police, firefighters and teachers, to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.
Under the latest plan, all city workers must comply with the vaccination-or-test rule beginning on September 13th, which is also the first day of public school in New York City. However, for 45,000 city staffers or contractors who work in residential and congregate care settings, the deadline to comply will come earlier, on August 16th.
As part of the transition to spur more vaccination, the city will double down on its existing mask mandates for unvaccinated employees. All city workers must show proof of vaccination starting August 2nd or be forced to wear a mask at all times.
The new directives come less than a week after Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the "get vaccinated or get tested" rule for the city's 42,000 public health workers. At the time, the mayor hinted that the requirement would eventually be expanded to more of the city's workforce as part of an incremental or "climb up the ladder" approach.
About 54% of all New Yorkers have been fully inoculated to date, but the pace of vaccinations has been slowing, leading experts to worry that the more contagious delta variant will fuel a rapid surge in infections. The latest seven-day average of total cases is 824, more than double the number two weeks ago. The daily positivity rate has also climbed to 2.27%, after being well below 1% in June.
UFT reaction via NY 1's Jillian Jorgensen.
Meanwhile, the UFT is on board:
“Vaccination and testing have helped keep schools among the safest places in the city. This approach puts the emphasis on vaccination but still allows for personal choice and provides additional safeguards through regular testing.”
Update- From de Blasio's press conference covered by the Daily News:
If city workers who opt against vaccines refuse to wear masks indoors, they won’t be allowed to come to the job and won’t be paid, de Blasio and his Labor Commissioner Renee Campion said.
“We’re just not going to tolerate unvaccinated city employees doing the wrong thing,” de Blasio said Monday at his morning press briefing. “Let’s be blunt: If you’re a city employee and you’re unvaccinated, you must wear a mask indoors at work. We will not tolerate any decision to do otherwise because this is about protecting Unvaccinated workers not wearing masks, he added, would be “removed” from their workplace.
“It will be a job requirement. We will expect employees to comply,” Campion added. “If employees refuse to comply, they just can’t be at work and, in fact, they will not be paid.”