New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he’s expanding the city’s Covid-19 mandate to require the entire municipal workforce to get vaccinated or start weekly testing by September 13.
The mandate will cover employees in the school system as well as police and fire departments, the mayor said. The city has about 340,000 employees.
“It means people who work in offices and people who work on the front line. Everyone,” he said.
The first 45,000 city government employees to begin the vaccine-test mandate will include those in congregate, residential settings “where people literally are there living together in close proximity on an ongoing basis,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio noted that September is “the pivot point of the recovery.”
“September is when many employers are bringing back a lot of their employees,” he said. “September is when school starts full strength. September is when people come back from the summer.”
When asked how many city employees are vaccinated, officials did not provide specific numbers but said the vaccination rate is similar to that of the city as a whole.
About 4.9 million of all New York City residents – 59% of the population – have received at least one dose of the vaccine, de Blasio said. Among adult residents, 71% have received at least one dose, he said.
As previously announced, de Blasio said members of the NYC Health and Hospitals and front-line Department of Health workers and clinical workers will be required to be vaccinated or get tested every week starting August 2.
Face mask rule for unvaccinated employees
Two other initiatives start on August 2.
On that date, all unvaccinated city employees must wear a mask indoors at all times, de Blasio said. Employees who violate the rule will be removed from the workplace.
“If employees refuse to comply (with the mask mandate), they just can’t be at work – and in fact they will not be paid,” Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion said.
The city on August 2 will debut the NYC Covid-safe app, a mobile application that allows users to keep track of vaccination or Covid test results in one place.
Jessica Tisch, commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, said the app will allow users to upload and present vaccination cards or weekly test results when needed.
De Blasio said that the NYC Covid-safe app comes in addition to the state’s Excelsior Pass and the traditional paper vaccination card. “All these tools matter, everything that helps people to keep track and to be held accountable is a good thing.”
De Blasio also addressed nongovernmental employers saying, “My message to the private sector is: Go as far as you can go right now. Do what you can do.”
Private entities have the right and freedom to make a lot of choices and set their own rules, the mayor said.
“Each private sector employer needs to do what they believe is right. But I strongly urge a vaccination mandate whenever possible or as close to it as possible,” de Blasio said.