It is expected that the rule will affect approximately 340,000 city employees. This makes the city one the largest U.S. employers to adopt such an action. Officials hope that the inconvenience and discomfort associated with weekly testing will convince many people to get vaccinated.
"This is about our rehabilitation. De Blasio stated that this is about what needs to be done to bring New York City back. "This is about keeping people secure."
The deadline of Sept. 13 coincides with the opening of public schools. The Democratic mayor has stated that he expects all students to attend school full-time. The deadlines for city health workers and those working in congregate settings such as group homes, will be earlier.
This move is necessary as the city struggles to deal with an increase in COVID-19-related cases. The daily average number of cases has increased more than 300% since June.
The city announced last week that it would mandate vaccinations and weekly testing for all workers in its hospital system.
De Blasio enlarged the requirement Monday and encouraged private employers to adopt similar rules.
The mayor stated, "My message to private sector is: Go as far right now as possible." "I strongly encourage a vaccination mandate whenever it is possible or as close as possible."
The new mandate that affects city workers was met with mixed reactions by the unions representing them.
The United Federation of Teachers stated in a statement that testing and vaccination have made schools safer. This approach emphasizes vaccination, but allows individuals to choose and offers additional protections through regular testing.
Henry Garrido, the executive director of District Council 37, AFSCME, stated that "If City Hall intends test our members every week, they must first meet with us at the table for bargaining."
Garrido, who represents approximately 100,000 New York City workers in several departments, stated that weekly testing is subjected to mandatory bargaining.
He stated that New York City was a union city and that it cannot be ignored.
De Blasio responded to Garrido's question by saying that the city is entitled to demand that its workers are vaccinated and tested.
He stated that employers have the right to take immediate action to ensure the safety and health of workers during a pandemic.
From a peak of over 100,000 in April, the number of vaccine doses given daily to residents has fallen to just 18,000. Around 65% of city residents are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, caseloads are on the rise for several weeks. Health officials claim that this variant accounts for about 7-10% of all new cases.
De Blasio has said that he does not plan to reimpose a broad indoor mask mandate, as Los Angeles County has done. Masks are required in some settings such as public transportation.
De Blasio stated that city employees who are not vaccinated will have to wear masks indoors.
Renee Campion, the city's labor relations commissioner, was asked how she would handle employees who refuse to wear masks at work. They won't be paid, in fact.