All New York Health Care Workers Must Be Vaccinated by September 27, Cuomo Announces

A vaccine mandate has been issued for all of New York's health care workers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that hospitals and long-term care facilities must develop policies to ensure all workers are vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees who are not yet fully inoculated have until September 27 to receive the shot.

Three-quarters of the state's 450,000 hospital workers are already vaccinated, according to the governor's office. Seventy-four percent of 30,000 adult care facility workers have completed their vaccine series, as well as 68 percent of New York's 145,500 nursing home employees.

"Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine," the governor said in a statement.

Cuomo, who announced earlier this month he was stepping down following a damning sexual harassment report, said that his successor, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, was briefed about the vaccine mandate prior to the announcement.

Hochul will take over as governor on August 24. She will be the first woman to hold the position in the Empire State's history.

In her first public address following Cuomo's resignation, Hochul noted that the recent COVID-19 surge is one of the biggest challenges facing residents.

"The Delta variant is still raging, and it's going to take all of us to defeat it," Hochul said.

She added, "It's going to take all of us working together to keep our children safe, our teachers safe, and anyone who works at a school safe. Small businesses are just starting to bounce back into an uncertain world. We need to reassure them that they will be okay. And our workers are once again debating whether they should even go back to their jobs, to go back to their offices, go back to their factories. Is it safe enough? But I know New Yorkers, they are hardwired to persevere and to prevail."

On Sunday, New York City surpassed 1 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Statewide, 3,575 new cases were reported on Sunday and more than 1,700 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

New York Health Care Workers Vaccine Mandate
A vaccine mandate has been issued for all of New York’s health care workers. In this photo, a medical staff member prepares a syringe with a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccine clinic at the Jewish Community Center on April 16, 2021 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

New York City is also requiring all government employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or submit to regular testing. The 300,000 city workers have until September 13 to get the shot or produce a negative test each week.

Residents who want to dine indoors, go to the gym or enter entertainment venues must show proof of vaccination. The so-called "Key to NYC" mandate will go into effect on Tuesday. It's the first-in-the-nation vaccine requirement for employees and customers for indoor venues.

Starting September 13, there will be $1,000 fines for failure to comply with the vaccine mandate. The fine amount will increase for repeat offenders of the order.

"It is the ultimate encouragement to get people vaccinated," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. "There are so many amazing things in this city that you can participate in if you are vaccinated. We want people to enjoy the fullness of the city, but you've got to be vaccinated to do it."

Newsweek has reached out to the New York Department of Health for additional comment but did not receive a response before publication.