The concerning surge of COVID cases with the Delta variant has motivated Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push vaccination mandates for state and city employees this week on Monday, Aug. 2.
New COVID-19 cases per day in the U.S. have increased over the past month to an average of nearly 80,000, a level not seen since mid-February, reported the Associated Press.
De Blasio said in order to fight the Delta variant they must have “clear mandates” to increase vaccinations.
The city vaccine mandates include frontline health workers, any new city employees, and as far as the private sector goes, companies and places with indoor dining, fitness, or performances, are required to check vaccination cards at the door.
“If you’re vaccinated, all that’s going to open up to you. You’ll have the key. You can open the door,” said de Blasio in his briefing. “But, if you’re un-vaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across. It’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life.”
De Blasio also added a $100 incentive for people to get vaccinated; 10 million vaccinations mark this week.
The final details of the vaccination card check policy will be announced and implemented in the week of Aug. 16, and then on Sept. 13, inspections and enforcement will begin citywide.
Some unions representing government workers in New York City have objected to the city’s “get vaccinated or get tested” mandate set to take effect in mid-September, said the AP.
Cuomo, who is currently neck-deep in sexual harassment scandal, had announced on Monday that MTA and Port Authority employees would be required to be vaccinated or tested weekly starting Labor Day. “Patient-facing” healthcare workers at state-owned hospitals and veterans homes also have to be vaccinated.
“The MTA has no higher priority than the health and safety of our workforce. This new vaccine and testing mandate is being introduced to make sure our employees are as protected as possible against the Delta variant as the region’s recovery picks up speed,” said Acting MTA Chairman & CEO Janno Lieber about the mandates.
Cuomo did not state that he was pushing a mask mandate as well.
“The state is leading the way, but local governments, schools, public hospitals and even businesses should start considering mandatory vaccinations as well because if these numbers start to rise quickly, we can’t afford to go backward and lose the progress we’ve already made,” said Cuomo in his briefing.
President Joe Biden endorsed New York City’s and State’s move while criticizing policies in states such as Florida and Texas—both led by Republicans—that block mask or vaccine requirements, said the AP.
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