New York City Tells Some 340K Employees They Must Get COVID Vaccine or Take Weekly Tests

New York City is mandating that about 340,000 employees in the city either get COVID-19 vaccinated or take weekly tests, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. The order, which will apply to municipal workers like teachers and police officers, makes New York City one of the largest employers in the country to enact such a rule.

Those who choose to get vaccinated will have to do so by the middle of September, when public schools should be back in session, or get tested every week, the Associated Press reported. While none of the qualifying workers will be forced to get the vaccine, authorities hope that many of them will choose inoculation over the inconvenience of weekly COVID-19 testing.

"This is about our recovery. This is about what we need to do to bring back New York City," de Blasio said. "This is about keeping people safe."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

New York City Vaccines
New York City is requiring all municipal workers in the city to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by the middle of September or receive weekly tests. A health care worker inoculates Evelyn Pereira, right, of Brooklyn, with the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as her daughter Soile Reyes, 12, looks on, Thursday at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

The Sept. 13 deadline coincides with the start of public school, when the Democratic mayor has said he expects all pupils to be in classrooms full time. City health care workers and employees in congregate setting such as group homes will face earlier deadlines.

The move comes as the city battles a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant. Since the end of June, the daily average of new cases has increased by more than 300 percent.

Last week, the city had announced it was mandating vaccinations or weekly testing for workers in the city's hospital system.

De Blasio expanded the requirement Monday and urged private employers to adopt similar rules.

"My message to the private sector is: Go as far as you can go right now," the mayor said. "I would strongly urge a vaccination mandate whenever possible, or as close to it as possible."

The number of vaccine doses being given out daily in the city has dropped to less than 18,000, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in early April. About 65 percent of adults in the city are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, caseloads have been rising for weeks, and health officials say the variant makes up about seven in 10 new cases.

De Blasio has said 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 said unvaccinated city employees will be required to wear masks indoors at all times.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday about 350,000 of the city's municipal workers would be required to get COVID vaccinated or weekly tests. The mayor attends the "Hometown Heroes" Ticker Tape Parade on July 7 in New York, New York. Noam Galai/Getty Images