Approximately 9 thousand employees of the city of New York were suspended without pay for refusing to comply with a mandate to vaccinate against the COVID-19 it went into effect Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio reported.
About nine out of 10 municipal employees subject to the mandate were vaccinated and there were still no disruptions to municipal services as a result of the employee shortage, De Blasio told reporters in his daily briefing.
New York has more than 300,000 city employees.
Fire stations were still open and sanitation workers made an additional lap Sunday to ensure trash did not pile up, the mayor added. “I want to thank everyone who got vaccinated,” De Blasio said.
“Thank you for getting vaccinated. Thank you for doing the right thing. Thank you for letting us move forward.”.
City officials are still fighting stiff resistance from a minority of workers in some public safety jobs, including police and firefighters, as well as a legal challenge to the mandate presented by the city’s largest police union.
As of Sunday, one in four uniformed firefighters in the city had not yet received the first dose of the vaccine, as required. Approximately one in six policemen were still not vaccinated, as well as one in six health workers.
More than 3,500 city employees were vaccinated over the weekend, after Friday’s deadline of 5 p.m. to collect a $ 500 bonus if they showed they had received a dose of the vaccine., but before they were suspended.
The director of the union representing New York City firefighters, which has fought the vaccination mandate, warned that public safety could be at risk.
The fire department said it was prepared to take up to 20% of its fire companies out of service and have 20% fewer ambulances on the streets.
“We are here today because of a mandate that was imposed not only on our members, but also on all New York City employees, who were given nine days to make a decision that changes the course of their careers, or whether to go or not to be vaccinated, “Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro told a news conference.
De Blasio says the city’s public safety priority is stopping the spread of COVID-19, which continues to kill a handful of people in the city every day.