NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate extending to all New York City municipal workers, including NYPD officers and FDNY firefighters.
The mandate goes into effect on Monday, Nov. 1. Over 160,000 city workers will need to show proof of at least one shot of a COVID vaccine by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, according to the mayor’s office.
To encourage unvaccinated city employees to get vaccinated, the city will give workers an extra $500 in their paycheck when they receive their first shot at a city-run vaccination site between Wednesday, Oct. 20 and Friday, Oct. 29.
Unvaccinated employees will be placed on unpaid leave until they are able to show proof of vaccination to their supervisor, de Blasio said, ruling out a weekly COVID testing option.
“There is no greater privilege than serving the people of New York City, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep yourself and your community safe,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We have led the way against COVID-19 – from fighting for the right to vaccinate frontline workers, to providing nation-leading incentives, to creating the Key to NYC mandate.”
Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi was expected to sign a Commissioner’s Order on Wednesday to formalize the new mandate.
A previous vaccine mandate was in place since late September for Department of Education employees, while a state-imposed vaccine mandate required health care workers at NYC Health + Hospitals locations to get the shot.
According to the city, in the wake of those mandates, the DOE vaccination rate raised to 96%, while 95% of H+H employees had been vaccinated.
The new mandate includes all NYPD, FDNY and Sanitation Department employees. Civilian employees of the Department of Correction and uniformed members assigned to health care settings are also included.
Only about 69% of the NYPD and 59% of the FDNY have been vaccinated.
Some uniformed DOC workers will have a month longer, until Dec. 1, to show vaccination proof, due to the city dealing with a staffing crisis at Rikers Island, the mayor’s office said.
“As we continue our recovery for all of us, city workers have been a daily inspiration. Now is the time for them to show their city the path out of this pandemic once and for all,” de Blasio said.
The mayor’s office said the city will begin impact bargaining with affected unions immediately.
The Police Benevolent Association, the union representing NYPD officers, said Wednesday they plan to take legal action against the mandate.
“From the beginning of the de Blasio administration’s haphazard vaccine rollout, we have fought to make the vaccine available to every member who chooses it, while also protecting their right to make that personal medical decision in consultation with their own doctor,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “Now that the city has moved to unilaterally impose a mandate, we will proceed with legal action to protect our members’ rights,” he added.