New York, NY – More than 9,000 New York City employees were placed on unpaid leave Monday morning for failing to comply with the mayor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, his office has confirmed.
According to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, 22,800 city workers remained unvaccinated on Sunday night, FOX News reported.
“Nine thousand people [were] placed on leave without pay today,” de Blasio’s spokesperson, Mitch Schwartz, confirmed Monday morning. “The rest are in various stages of having their accommodation requests reviewed. They can be at work.”
Approximately 84 percent of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 19,000 civilian employees and 36,000 sworn officers were vaccinated as of Monday morning, WNYW reported.
Only 77 percent of the city’s firefighters reported being vaccinated, while 88 percent of fire department emergency management personnel reported having received the shot.
New York City sanitation workers’ vaccination rate sat at 83 percent, and EMS workers’ vaccination rate came in at 88 percent, WNYW reported.
New York City is now preparing for the reality of fewer police officers, mounting garbage, closed firehouses, and fewer ambulances, according to the news outlet.
The New York Fire Department (FDNY) said it is prepared to have 20 percent fewer ambulances available due to the shortage, and said it may close down 20 percent of its fire companies, WNYW reported.
FDNY is also canceling vacations, altering schedules, and relying on outside EMS providers to fill the gap.
De Blasio said the city’s remaining sanitation workers will be required to work 12-hour shifts instead of eight-hour shifts in order to keep up with residents’ garbage, WNYW reported.
They’ll also have to start working Sundays, he said.
“This decision was made for the health and welfare of all New Yorkers. It’s time to recognize this is the law,” the mayor told WRC, referring to the mandate. “Get back to New York protecting the people of New York City.”
The city currently has more than 300,000 employees, according to WNYW.
A two-day NYPD retirement fair got underway just hours before the mandate deadline.
A large number of veteran officers are expected to retire as opposed to being forced to get the vaccine, WABC reported.
“But New Yorkers should know who to blame for any shortfall in city services: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Shea and the other bureaucrats who are putting politics before public health and public safety,” Lynch declared. “The haphazard rollout of this mandate has created chaos in the NYPD.”
De Blasio announced the mandate on Oct. 20, noting that the city had eliminated the testing option that city workforce had previously been given and would require everyone to show proof they had been vaccinated, WABC reported.
“We need to save lives, and we do it with vaccinations,” the mayor said at a press briefing.
He said employees would receive an extra $500 in their paycheck if they get their first shot at a city-run vaccination clinic between Oct. 20 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 29, WABC reported.
De Blasio said that city employees who did not comply with the order to get at least their first shot before the deadline would be put on unpaid administrative leave.
He said their future employment with the city would depend on what happened in negotiations with labor unions, WABC reported.
Despite pushback on vaccinate mandates by law enforcement officers nationwide, the mayor said it was the responsibility of public employees to get vaccinated to protect citizens, WNBC reported.
“The vaccine is what has allowed us to fight back against COVID and save tens of thousands of lives. And there’s still a lot of city employees who are not vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “I want to protect them. I want to protect their families. I want to protect all the people that they come in contact within this city.”
“Law enforcement has borne the brunt of COVID,” the mayor continued. “In this nation in the last two years, 460 law enforcement officers have been lost to COVID. We’ve got to protect them.”
“This vaccine mandate allows us to do that,” he added.