Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that all employees of the City of New York will be required to be vaccinated by September, as the spread of Covid-19 ramps up and a disconcerting amount of city employees remain unvaccinated.
The order will require all 340,000 municipal employees to get the jab by Sept. 13 — the first day of school for public school students — or submit to weekly mandatory Covid testing.
“This is about our recovery, this is what we need to do to bring back New York,” the mayor said during a virtual press briefing.
City Hall announced last week that public health workers in the city’s Health and Hospital system would be subjected to a vaccine mandate and hinted that further mandates would be soon to come.
New York City has managed to vaccinate roughly 70% of the city population, with over 9.8 million doses administered so far. Yet some public employees have proved more resistant to the vaccine, with only 43% of the NYPD vaccinated, and only 55% of the FDNY so far, despite their frontline status.
While the city’s infection rate hit an all-time low earlier in the summer as the vaccination rate increased, it has ticked upwards throughout July as the more infectious Delta Variant has become the dominant strain.
As of Monday, the city has a 2.35 percent infection rate, with 837 new reported cases on a 7 day rolling average.
The mayor has declined to institute another citywide mask mandate in the face of rising infections, opting instead to focus on ramping up the vaccination rate. He also repeated his calls for private sector employers to institute vaccine requirements for their employees.
“This is going to be a fight to keep the vaccinations moving more than the infections,” Hizzoner said.
The mayor did however institute a mask mandate for unvaccinated city employees while they are indoors, claiming that workers who refused to comply and wear a mask would be removed from their worksite.
“We’re just not going to tolerate unvaccinated city employees doing the wrong thing,” de Blasio said. “This is about protecting people’s health and wellbeing.”