More than half of the NYPD isn’t vaccinated for COVID-19, so the department has issued an ultimatum: vax up, or mask up.
In a statement Wednesday, the NYPD said cops who want to remove their masks at work must provide proof they’ve gotten the COVID inoculation to the department’s medical division — citing an executive order by Mayor de Blasio requiring contractors working for the city to do so.
“Members who do not have official proof of COVID-19 vaccination on file with the Medical Division must wear a face covering at all times while working, whether indoors or outside, including while driving in Department vehicles,” the mandated stated.
Vaccine or not, cops must still wear masks in elevators or when they’re interacting with the public. And they have to mask up whenever they’re present in a school, pre-K to 12th grade, in the city transit system or in a homeless shelter, correctional facility, nursing home or health care setting, the order said.
Officers can remove their masks to eat and drink, and adjust them because of the temperature or to correct a breathing condition.
The statement said it’s up to NYPD supervisors, from sergeants up, to enforce the policy, warning “appropriate disciplinary actions” will be taken against cops who flout the rules.
Just 47% of NYPD employees are vaccinated, according to police officials. So far, 59 members of the department have died of COVID, including school crossing guard Pauline Soto, who died Monday, and Detective Shantay Neal-Baker, who died Saturday.
The city’s major police unions have not yet commented on the new mandate.
The new policy comes as the highly infectious delta variant of coronavirus emerges rages through the nation, choking hospitals in states like Texas, Florida and Mississippi with a grim surge of largely unvaccinated patients and causing higher infection rates nationwide.
NYPD cops and civilian members were among the first city workers to get access to the vaccine in December 2020.