July 26, 2021 By Allie Griffin
All 300,000 city workers will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or adhere to weekly testing under a new mandate by mid September, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
The city will require all municipal workers to be vaccinated by Sept. 13 — the first day of public school — or be subjected to testing for the virus each week.
De Blasio announced the new mandate as COVID-19 cases are rising citywide due to the highly contagious delta variant.
“We all know the delta variant has thrown us a curveball and we are really really focused on fighting the delta variant,” he said Monday morning.
Police officers, firefighters, teachers, correction officers along with previously announced healthcare workers will be subject to the vaccine or testing mandate.
Public hospital workers and the City Department of Health staff will have an earlier deadline, Aug. 2., to get vaccinated by. Weekly testing will commence that day for such workers who are unvaccinated.
Furthermore, starting Aug. 16, city employees who work in congregate, residential settings such as homeless shelters will need to be vaccinated or tested weekly.
All other city workers, including those who work in offices, will be subject to the Sept. 13 deadline.
“We’re going to keep … adding additional measures as needed — mandates and strong measures whenever needed to fight the delta variant,” de Blasio said. “The number one way to fight it is to get vaccinated.”
He also announced that the city will be doubling down on mask use for unvaccinated city staffers starting Monday, Aug 2. All unvaccinated workers will be required to wear a mask at their workplace at all times while indoors.
“If a city government employee does not wear a mask indoors and they’re unvaccinated, there will unfortunately have to be consequences,” de Blasio said.
The mayor also urged private employers to follow suite in requiring vaccines or weekly testing.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards applauded the vaccine or testing mandate in a statement Monday.
“The science is clear: Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from a vicious virus that has killed more than 8,600 of our fellow Queens residents and delivered an unprecedented blow to our borough,” Richards said.
“Mayor de Blasio’s announcement today is a common-sense investment in the overall safety and ultimate recovery of our city, while also respecting reasonable accommodations on an individual basis.”
He added that the vaccines are safe, free and effective.
The city will launch a “NYC COVID Safe” app next month in which city employees and others can upload their vaccination status and weekly test results in line with the new mandate.