coronavirus

Gov. Cuomo Mandates Vaccinations for Transit Workers as New York's Covid Cases Surge

Mary Altaffer | Pool | Getty Images
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave transportation workers the option to get vaccinated by Labor Day or face weekly coronavirus testing.
  • The mandate mirrors an order Cuomo issued for state hospital employees last week in response to the surging delta variant.
  • The announcement follows a week that saw New York's seven-day coronavirus case count jump to 2,418, an increase of 81% from the prior week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a vaccine mandate Monday for employees of New York's MTA and Port Authority, giving transportation workers the option to get vaccinated by Labor Day or face weekly coronavirus testing.

The mandate is similar to an order Cuomo issued for state hospital employees last week in response to the surging delta variant, requiring vaccinations by Labor Day for anyone who regularly treats patients. Those workers will not have the option of using frequent testing to avoid vaccination. The Port Authority says it employs nearly 7,000 workers, while the MTA said in April it had 67,000 workers.

"I don't believe a mask policy is going to be enough," Cuomo said at the press conference. "I think we're going to have to talk about a vaccination policy."

The governor's announcement follows a week that saw New York's seven-day coronavirus case count average jump to 2,418, an increase of 81% from the prior week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

"You should be vaccinated, or don't work in a front-line position," Cuomo said.

The governor also said Monday he is asking private businesses such as bars and restaurants to require proof of vaccination against Covid as a condition for admission.

"I am asking them, and suggesting to them, go to vaccine-only admission," he said. "I believe it is in your best interest."

Cuomo previously lifted New York's mask requirements for vaccinated individuals when he adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance for the fully inoculated on May 17. New York subsequently eliminated Covid restrictions on businesses, social gatherings and construction on June 15, after the state reported a seven-day positivity rate of 0.41% the week prior and 70% of all residents had received at least one vaccine dose.

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