NYC Expands Vaccine Mandate to All Public Workers, Ends Testing Option

By Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.
October 20, 2021 Updated: October 20, 2021

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city workers.

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi plans to sign a Commissioner’s Order Wednesday to make the mandate official for the city’s approximately 160,500 City workers.

De Blasio shared the details concerning the new vaccine mandate requirement during a press conference Wednesday morning.

He announced that city employees will receive an extra $500 in their paycheck after receiving their first vaccination shot.

Unvaccinated city employees will be placed on unpaid leave until showing proof of vaccination.

The mayor also confirmed in an interview with MSNBC that he will be ending the weekly testing option.

The deadline for the new mandate is Oct. 29 and includes all police, fire, and sanitation employees.

A reported 71 percent of New York’s city workers have already received at least one shot, with 69 percent of police officers and 59 percent of firefighters.

Unions representing police officers said Wednesday they will sue to block the mandate.

New York City’s largest police union, the Police Benevolent Association, said getting vaccinated is a “personal medical decision” that officers should make in consultation with their doctors. The union represents police personnel with the rank of officer—about 23,000 people on active duty with the department.

“Now that the city has moved to unilaterally impose a mandate, we will proceed with legal action to protect our members’ rights,” PBA president, Pat Lynch, said in a statement.

The NYPD has about 34,500 uniformed personnel and about 17,700 people in non-uniformed support positions.

Many New Yorkers have protested the vaccine mandates. Opponents gathered at Foley Square in Manhattan to protest the requirement for New York teachers and other Department of Education staffers last month.

The mandate for city teachers was supposed to take effect on Sept. 27, but was temporarily blocked by a federal judge on Sept. 24. However, a federal appeals panel ruled in favor of the mandate hours before it was scheduled to begin.

The Epoch Times talked to some of the organizers of the protest.

“The movement is growing, my numbers of followers keep going up and I have more people contacting me, asking me for help,” said Jo Rose, co-organizer.

“It’s gonna continue to grow because there are people that are willing to lose their livelihood in order to keep their freedom.”

Enrico Trigoso and AP contributed to this report.

Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.