Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that beginning September 13, all city employees will be required to have received an emergency use COVID-19 vaccination or submit to weekly testing. Public healthcare employees became subject to similar requirements beginning August 2. The city’s full vaccination mandate will cover approximately 340,000 workers, including all school and police personnel.
An NYC spokesman said, “We’re in a new era of COVID where there’ve been millions of people vaccinated, and hospitalizations rates have gone down, but cases are rising, and we need to make sure our health care facilities are as safe as possible.”
Unvaccinated city workers will also be required to wear face masks at all times when indoors beginning August 2.
The city’s Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion said, “If employees refuse to comply with the mask mandate, they just can’t be at work, and in fact, they will not be paid.”
The NYC COVID-Safe phone app also was expected to go online on August 2. The app will provide a digital method of effectively implementing a vaccine passport. The program will allow users to upload vaccine and testing information that is linked to a government-issued ID. The city claims that “health and fitness, user content, usage data, contact info, identifiers, sensitive info is not linked to your identity.”
In an interview with MSNBC, the mayor said, “I want to emphasize that either vaccines or tests really creates positive pressure for vaccination because it will be the responsibility of the employee to get tested on a regular basis. That’s going to say to people, just get vaccinated, get it done, be safe, help your colleagues be safe. Don’t have to go through the hassle of weekly testing.”
“I think we’re all climbing a ladder here very rapidly,” de Blasio continued. “I’ve said to the private sector in New York City, any private sector entity, go ahead and do a full mandate. If that’s something you feel you can do and works for you, do it now.”
De Blasio called any person who is now unvaccinated an “anti-vaxxer” and said they “are criminals at this point. They’re taking away the future of this country.”
The mayor also wants private employers to go even further than the city is in mandating vaccines or weekly testing. He said that employers who “have a lot of freedom” to “set their own rules” should immediately require vaccination without exception.