Gov. Cuomo orders vaccinations for NY transit staff as Covid surges

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference in New York City on May 10, 2021.

Maria Altaffer | Swimming pool | Getty Images

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a vaccination mandate for New York MTA and Port Authority employees Monday, giving transport workers the option to get vaccinated by Labor Day or undergo weekly coronavirus tests.

The mandate is similar to an order Cuomo issued last week in response to the nascent Delta variant for state hospital employees, mandating vaccinations by Labor Day for anyone who regularly treats patients. These workers will not be able to have frequent tests to avoid vaccination. The port authority says it employs nearly 7,000 workers, while the MTA said in April it has 67,000 workers.

“I don’t think a mask policy will be enough,” said Cuomo at the press conference. “I think we need to talk about a vaccination policy.”

The governor’s announcement follows a week in which the average number of seven-day coronavirus cases in New York rose to 2,418, an 81% increase from the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“You should be vaccinated or not be on the front lines,” Cuomo said.

The governor also said Monday he was calling on private businesses like bars and restaurants to require proof of vaccination against Covid as a condition of approval.

“I ask them and I suggest they only be allowed to vaccinate,” he said. “I think it’s in your best interests.”

Cuomo previously lifted New York’s mask requirement for vaccinated individuals when he adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for the fully vaccinated individuals on May 17, a 7-day positivity rate of 0.41% the week before and 70% of all residents had received at least one dose of vaccine.

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