The city will drop its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers later this week, Mayor Eric Adams said Monday.
COVID-19 vaccines will become optional for current and prospective city workers on Friday, Feb. 10, after "the expected ratification at the next Board of Health meeting" scheduled for Feb. 9, Adams said in a press release.
Approximately 1,780 city workers who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated will not be reinstated automatically, but will be allowed to apply for jobs with their former departments “through existing city rules and regulations and hiring processes,” the release noted.
“I think it’s time for us to really talk about hiring back the workers that were unfairly let go, whether we can talk about back pay, or more importantly, whether we can talk about pension credits," said City Councilmember Joe Borelli, a Staten Island Republican.
The lifting of the mandate will extend to non-public school, early child care and day care workers, the release said.
Public school buildings, meanwhile, will no longer require visitors to provide proof of vaccination, according to the release.
“With more than 96% of city workers and more than 80% of New Yorkers having received their primary COVID-19 series and more tools readily available to keep us healthy, this is the right moment for this decision,” Adams said in a statement. “I continue to urge every New Yorker to get vaccinated, get boots, and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19.”
The mayor’s announcement came nearly a year after the city terminated 1,430 municipal workers in one day for failing to submit proof that they were vaccinated.
Trying to push New Yorkers to get the covid shot, Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented the vaccine mandate for the city’s workforce two months before leaving office in 2021.
The city dropped its vaccine mandate for private-sector workers this past November.