What is the vaccine mandate for NYC and California employees? When is the deadline?
Government workers in New York and California are required to get vaccinated or do weekly tests, aswell as wearing masks indoors.
Both areas' new mandates come as the Delta variant is spreading rapidly across the country. The move is an attempt to force workers who are likely to be at the forefront of the pandemic battle to be fully protected.
Despite an initially quick rollout, the US vaccine drive has slowed in recent months and authorities are trying to find ways to increase the speed of vaccination.
The vaccine mandates
New York City
The city employs more than 300,000 people that these rules will apply to. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the deadline for the mandate is September 13 or employees will need to be tested weekly. Currently the city has 54.3% of people vaccinated.
Last week de Blasio announced that state-employed healthcare workers would also need to be vaccinated to routinely jabbed.
However, there has been a reaction amongst workers' unions against the mandate. “New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored,” said Henry Garrido, the executive director of District Council 37, which has 150,000 members, the largest union representing city employees.
But New York City workers who do not comply with the new rules will not be allowed to go to work and will be docked pay. “This means everybody,” de Blasio said, “If someone is not wearing their mask, they will be removed from the workplace.”
The state employs 246,000 people and the starting date of the mandate is August 2. If workers choose not to get the vaccine they it is compulsory to be tested once a week, the same as in in New York City. The mandate comes after the percentage of people testing positive for covid-19 in California rose from 0.7% in June to 5.2% as of publication.
"We're at a point now in this pandemic where an individual's choice to not get vaccinated is impacting the rest of us," Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday.
Unlike New York, the Californian mandate includes both public and private healthcare workers, covering an extra 2 million people. Currently California has 62.1% of people fully vaccinated. The vaccine mandate comes after California lifted all its restrictions last month, only to reimpose the wearing of masks weeks later.
More Delta variant stories:
Why are restrictions returning?
With less than half of the US population being fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, there are warnings of a "pandemic of the unvaccinated." Double vaccinated people can still catch the virus, but the risk of serious illness is extremely low. 97% of hospitalizations with covid-19 are people who are unvaccinated. White House Press Secretary jen Psaki said the decision for more federal restrictions laid in the hands of the CDC.
The US has also ruled out lifting travel restrictions to those countries still banned, citing the Delta variant. The announcement likely ends hopes of a late holiday resurgence for struggling airline companies. Canada has said it will open the doors to fully vaccinated Americans from August 9 and the EU already allows US travelers into the bloc.