DSNY commissioner optimistic, but warns service delays possible if workers don’t get vaccinated

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — More than 160,000 New York City municipal workers have until Oct. 29 to get their first shot of the COVID vaccine, and testing is no longer an option.

One of the agencies directly impacted is the sanitation department.

Of the nearly 10,000 employees in the agency, about 6,200, or 63%, of them are vaccinated, according to Commissioner Ed Grayson.

As the vaccine mandate deadline draws near, Grayson told PIX11 News he expects the vaccination rate to go up.

However, he did warn that the city could see some service delays if less people than anticipated get vaccinated. 

When asked if the department had a contingency plan in place if they see a staff shortage due to the vaccine mandate, Grayson said during the height of the pandemic, there were times where 25% of the workforce was out, and they were able to get through it through employing overtime and extending shifts.

Grayson also said the department will do what they can to ensure vaccines are available for their workers.

Many may choose not to get vaccinated and opt for early retirement or quit. The commissioner acknowledged that’s possible, but said he wants to have a workforce committed to their job. 

By keeping workers informed of what’s available to them, he hopes more people will get vaccinated. 

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new COVID vaccine mandate extending to all New York City municipal workers.

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.

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