New York City and California will require every government worker to get tested for the CCP virus on a weekly basis or show proof of full vaccination, officials announced on Monday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City will require all of its municipal workers—including teachers and police officers to get vaccines by mid-September or face weekly virus testing.
The rule is expected to affect about 340,000 city employees, making the city one of the largest employers in the United States to take such action. While it isn’t officially a vaccine mandate—no workers will be forced to take a shot—officials hope the inconvenience and discomfort of weekly tests will persuade many to overcome a reluctance to get inoculated.
But some of the unions representing city workers balked at the announcement, saying the city can’t impose the requirement without negotiations.
“New York City is a union town, and that cannot be ignored,” said Henry Garrido, executive director of District Council 37 of AFSCME. DC 37 represents about 100,000 New York City employees across several departments.
Hours after De Blasio’s announcement, California officials said it will similarly require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all state workers and health care employees starting next month.
“As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
The new measure for state workers will go into effect on Aug. 2 and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks.
Regarding health care workers and congregate facilities—the new rule will be applied on Aug. 9, while health care facilities will have until Aug. 23 to come into full compliance, the governor said.
According to the California controller’s office, there are at least 238,000 state employees. Health officials couldn’t immediately provide an estimate on the size of the health care workforce in the nation’s most populated state.
California has administered the most COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens nationwide, covering more than 44 million doses. About 62 percent of all eligible residents in the state are fully vaccinated.
“California has administered more vaccines than any other state, with 75 percent of those eligible having gotten at least one dose, and we were weeks ahead of meeting President Biden’s 70 percent goal,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
The more contagious variant of the CCP virus, known as the Delta variant, now makes up an estimated 80 percent of infections in California, according to health officials.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.