NYC Mayor de Blasio: NYC Workers Need to be Vaccinated or Get Tested Weekly
Today, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all NYC employees must either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested for the virus on a weekly basis.
By September 13, the entirety of the city’s workforce will be required to either get tested every week or show proof of their having been vaccinated.
The announcement comes nearly a week after the previously related mandate, ‘Health Worker COVID-Safe Requirement’ was pronounced by the Mayor, Dr. Dave Chokshi (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner), Dr. Mitchell Katz (NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO) and the Mayor.
On that day, July 21, we learned how beginning August 2, those working for NYC Health + Hospitals as well as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would be required to provide either a one-time verification of immunization, or weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Also, any of these workers who are unvaccinated will be required to wear a mask indoors at their place of work at all times.
The following are some of the Mayor’s words this morning:
“So last week I announced for our frontline health care workers in the public sector, Health + Hospitals, DOH – the COVID safety requirement, simply show proof of vaccination or get tested every single week. And I said, last week, this was only the beginning and we would be climbing up the ladder, more mandates to come well, today is that day. “
“On September 13th, the entire city workforce will be mandated under the COVID safety mandate to either get vaccinated, which is far preferable or get tested once a week. Let’s be clear why this is so important. This is about our recovery. This is about what we need to do to bring back New York City. This is about keeping people safe, this is about making sure our families get through COVID okay, this is about bringing back jobs, you name it. In September, everything’s going to come together. September is the pivot point of the recovery. September is when many employers are bringing back a lot of their employees. September is when school starts full strength. September is when people come back from the summer. September is when it will all happen. And so, on September 13th, which is the first full day of school, every single city employee will be expected to be either vaccinate or be tested weekly. This means everybody. This means obviously everyone who works in our schools, our educators and staff. It means the NYPD, the FDNY, it means all city agencies. It means people who work in offices and people work on the frontline. Everyone, because September is when the rubber hits the road, and this is when we have to make the difference.”
This all comes as concerns over the COVID-19 infection rate continues to grow. New York State’s daily positivity rate has risen back to a percentile not seen since early May or this year.
In response to today’s news, Henry Garrido, Executive Director of the city’s largest public employee union (DC 37) issued the following statement:
“If City Hall intends to test our members weekly, they must first meet us at the table to bargain. While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and support measures to ensure our members’ health and wellbeing, weekly testing is clearly subject to mandatory bargaining. New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored.”
NYC Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams had the following to say:
“Like so many New Yorkers, I had been excited to see our case rates declining in recent months and to return to some pre-pandemic activities with limited restrictions. But now, the speed and spread of the Delta variant has changed our trajectory, and unfortunately, must also change our mindset, our behaviors, and our policies.
“I commend the Mayor for implementing a required vaccination-or-testing policy for city workers, and urge that, in coordination with union leadership, the proposed timeline be accelerated and requirements be expanded to twice weekly testing. Both changes would dramatically improve our ability to control the spread of the Delta variant.
“In addition, and in accordance with the scientific guidance on current risks, public and private spaces should require masks to be worn indoors – not only for city workers, but for all New Yorkers. We know that despite some breakthrough cases, vaccinated individuals are primarily protected, but we also know that until New York can increase rates of injection and lower rates of infection, an added layer of protection is a small sacrifice to make for the safety of our neighbors. Our city and state have brought case rates down before, protecting ourselves and our fellow New Yorkers, and I am confident that we can do it again.”