De Blasio mandates vaccines or weekly testing for New York City employees

De Blasio mandates vaccines or weekly testing for New York City employees
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New York City's entire public workforce will be required to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing beginning on Sept. 13, Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioMeghan, Prince Harry visit One World Trade Center Google to purchase Manhattan building for .1 billion New York to start weekly COVID-19 testing in schools MORE announced on Monday.

"This is about our recovery, this is about what we need to do to bring back New York City, this is about keeping people safe, this is about making sure our families get through COVID OK, this is about bringing back jobs. You name it," de Blasio said during his daily press briefing.

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De Blasio cited September as the "pivot point" in the city's COVID-19 recovery, pointing to how employers will soon begin asking employees to return to offices, people will be returning from summer vacations and the school year will begin in "full strength."

"And so, on Sept. 13, which is the first full day of school, every single city employee will be expected to be either vaccinated, or be tested weekly. This means everybody," de Blasio said, including all school employees, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York City Fire Department and all other city agencies.

The mayor had already announced a similar measure last week for all public city health workers. Soon after this requirement was announced, the NYPD disclosed that it had vaccinated less than half of its police force. At the time, de Blasio said all agencies have "got to do better. We've got to go farther."

Beginning on Monday, unvaccinated city employees who are found to not be wearing a mask will be subject to consequences, de Blasio said.

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"So we're going to keep climbing this ladder and adding additional measures as needed — mandates and strong measures — whenever needed to fight the delta variant," de Blasio added. "No. 1 way to fight it is get vaccinated, we're proving it. This is the reason life is as good as it is in New York City right now because we're above the national average in vaccinations, but we need to do more."

He also appealed to the private sector to "do what you can do" in encouraging vaccinations.

"Each private sector employer needs to do what they believe is right, but I would strongly urge a vaccination mandate, whenever possible, or as close to it as possible," de Blasio said.

Along with these new mandates, de Blasio also announced the upcoming Aug. 2 launch of a new app for New Yorkers called the "NYC COVID safe app," which will allow users to keep track of vaccinations and test results and have them easily available to show employers.