Mayor Bill de Blasio has just announced some pressing changes to help combat the deadly delta variant of COVID-19 spreading in NYC.
In a press conference this morning (July 26), he announced that every government employee will be required to show proof of vaccination or partake in weekly COVID-19 testing. The measure will go into place on September 13 (also the first day of school), but will start even earlier for certain groups. Requirements will begin for city health & hospital workers as soon as August 2, and for those in congregate and residential settings by August 16.
“Let’s be clear on why this is so important,” the Mayor said. “This is about our recovery, this is about what we need to do to bring back New York City, this is about keeping people safe, this is about making sure our families get through COVID okay, this is about bringing back jobs…you name it.”
The mandate includes all city agencies — from NYC school teachers to the NYPD to the FDNY. He said they will add additional measures as needed to fight the delta variant.
Starting on Monday, they will also be reinforcing that unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear masks indoors at all times, and will be penalized if they are not following the rules. It is only if someone is vaccinated that they have the option to remove the mask at all, except in settings where it is still required by CDC recommendation, like schools and healthcare facilities.
He encouraged private companies to enact similar requirements, with mandated vaccinations or weekly tests to help keep the city safe.
On August 2, the city will also debut their own “NYC COVID Safe App” that will show proof of vaccination or recent negative test in a simple manner (similar to the state’s Excelsior Pass).
Currently, 71 percent of all NYC residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Still, positive COVID-19 cases have nearly doubled across New York State over the past week — with the delta variant now the “most dominant COVID-19 strain in New York City.”
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