New York orders all state workers to be vaccinated or tested regularly

July 28, 2021

Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

All workers employed by New York State will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or get tested for the virus on a regular basis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday. The governor put in place an even more stringent mandate for state hospitals: all patient-facing healthcare workers must now be vaccinated, with no test option offered. The announcement comes days after Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled out a similar requirement for all city workers and as President Joe Biden plans to announce all federal employees and contractors must be vaccinated or submit to testing.

Cuomo said his administration is working with state unions to implement the new policy, which will take effect by Labor Day.

“New York is taking its vaccination effort a step further and requiring all state employees to get the shot or be tested weekly, and we look forward to working with our sisters and brothers in the labor movement to implement that quickly and effectively by Labor Day,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Our healthcare heroes have led the way all through this terrible crisis, so let’s get vaccinated, save lives and beat this beast for once and for all.”

Expanding an earlier mandate that required city health workers to show proof of vaccination or participate in weekly testing, de Blasio on Monday announced the new protocol would apply to the city’s entire workforce, including teachers, NYPD officers, and other city agencies, which totals about 300,000 employees.

The city’s mandate will go into effect first for public hospital workers and those in clinical settings on August 2. On August 16, the mandate will apply to government workers who work in congregate and residential settings, including shelters and foster care facilities. By September 13, when schools reopen, all city employees must be vaccinated or tested for the virus weekly.

The new vaccine and testing requirements come as New York, and the rest of the country, face a rise in virus cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant and as the vaccination rate slows.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans should wear masks indoors again in areas of “substantial transmission.”

All counties in New York City fall within the CDC’s high-risk zones, as seen in this map. In response, both de Blasio and Cuomo said they are reviewing the updated guidance.

With Delta now accounting for 75 percent of cases analyzed by the city as of the first week of July, officials warn those who remain unvaccinated are the reason behind the uptick in cases.

Some New York City private companies are also requiring their employees to get vaccinated. According to Crain’s, the Durst Organization will fire any worker who is not vaccinated by September 6, unless they receive a medical or religious accommodation. And online job postings from real estate developer Related Companies note that all workers on-site must be vaccinated as a condition of their employment.


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