Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested the city was strongly considering mandating coronavirus vaccinations for city employees during a media interview on Tuesday.
“Yes, we are climbing a ladder. I’m not answering yes to your question yet,” he said, according to the New York Post. “But if that’s not enough, I think we got to be ready to climb the ladder more. We’ve got to put pressure on this situation.”
On Monday, the mayor announced that New York City workers must wear masks in their offices if they are not vaccinated, or face suspension without pay. The city employees will have to show proof of their vaccinations or be tested every single week.
All Department of Health and clinical staff will be mandated to either be vaccinated or masked starting August 2, and 45,000 city employees in congregate or residential settings such as shelters or senior centers will be required starting August 16. The entire city workforce, including school staff, the NYPD and the FDNY will be under the mandate by September 13.
“Only with documented proof of vaccination does one have the option to forgo a face covering,” de Blasio said. “If someone is not wearing their mask, they will be removed from the workplace.”
The delta variant is spreading throughout the city, causing a surge in cases and climbing hospitalizations. The majority of cases and the most severe infections have been among the unvaccinated.
59% of all eligible New York City residents have at least one shot.
“We’ve got to shake people at this point and say, ‘Come on now.’ We tried voluntary. We could not have been more kind and compassionate. Free testing, everywhere you turn, incentives, friendly, warm embrace. The voluntary phase is over,” de Blasio said on Tuesday.
“We can keep doing those things. I’m not saying shut it down. I’m saying voluntary alone doesn’t work,” he added. “It’s time for mandates, because it’s the only way to protect our people.”