All New York City municipal employees will soon be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
The city workers — including firefighters and cops — will be mandated to get their first dose by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29. De Blasio said that members of the city workforce who have not started their vaccine series by Nov. 1 will be placed on unpaid leave until they provide proof of vaccination.
“It’s a mandate now for all city agencies, all city workers. It’s time for everyone to get vaccinated,” he said Wednesday morning on MSNBC. “We need to reassure all New Yorkers that, if you’re working with a public employee, they’re vaccinated, everyone is going to be safe.”
With the new mandate comes an incentive — city employees who have not yet been vaccinated and will begin their vaccine series will through next week will receive a $500 paycheck bump, de Blasio said Wednesday.
The New York Post reports that under the policy, uniformed correction officers have until Dec. 1 to receive their first jab due to an ongoing staffing shortage at Rikers Island.
“We need people to come back, and we need to address real situations there, so we’ve added a month for that small group only,” de Blasio said. “But it’s still a mandate.”
Before the new mandate, only Department of Education staff and city health workers were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but de Blasio has said recently he is open to extending the mandate to all 300,000 city workers, the Post reports.
The current vaccination rate among the city’s workforce stands at about 83%, but the Post reports that number is significantly lower among cops and firefighters.