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New York to mandate all state workers receive COVID-19 vaccine or get tested regularly

Virus Outbreak New York
Posted at 11:47 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 14:11:42-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York will mandate all state workers either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or get tested regularly, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Cuomo said officials are working with state unions to implement this program quickly and fairly and expects it to be in place by Labor Day. He also encouraged local governments to do the same.

Monday, City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the city would not mandate the vaccine.

“We are not mandating vaccination in the City of Buffalo, we are providing assistance to any employee and any city resident who would like to get vaccinated,” Brown said Monday.

Also announced by the governor Wednesday, all patient-facing healthcare workers at State hospitals will be required to get vaccinated. There will be no testing option.

State-run hospitals include:

  • SUNY Stony Brook
  • SUNY Upstate
  • SUNY Downstate
  • Long Island Veterans Home at Stony Brook
  • Helen Hayes Hospital
  • SUNY College of Optometry
  • Montrose Veterans Home
  • St. Albans Veterans Home
  • Oxford Veterans Home
  • Batavia Veterans Home

Cuomo also addressed the new CDC mask guidance that was issued Tuesday which recommends vaccinated people wear masks indoors where COVID-19 is surging. He said the state is continuing to review the guidance and no change has been made at this point, but said local governments in areas with high spread should consider CDC guidance.

In the updated Tuesday guidance the CDC also recommended that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. The governor said if numbers continue to increase, districts in effected areas should consider more aggressive actions so schools don't become super spreaders in September.

Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) President Mary E. Sullivan issued this statement on Governor Cuomo’s vaccine-or-test policy:
“CSEA supports the Governor's vaccine-or-test policy. New York has come a long way in overcoming COVID-19 together and we cannot slide backwards now or we put our members, workers, our families, children and all of us at greater risk. We need to continue to be diligent in protecting everyone in New York against COVID and this helps accomplish that. This procedure is already being effectively used in the SUNY system and all that's happening here is it is being expanded, which CSEA supports.”

State Senator George Borrello issued the following statement in response:
“The Governor’s brazen ultimatum that state workers be vaccinated by Labor Day or face weekly testing is outrageous, unconstitutional and more about muscle-flexing than public health.
“State workers, many of whom were on the front lines helping New York State get through the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic, don’t deserve to be bullied into being vaccinated. Coercing people into taking such a step against their will represents a gross violation of our fundamental freedoms and isn’t supported by the science.
“I hope that the unions representing state workers will stand up against this dictatorial move and support their dues-paying members 100 percent.”