New York City Lifts Vaccine Mandate for City Workers But Won’t Reinstate Fired Holdouts

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Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that New York City is lifting its Covid vaccine mandate for city workers, only a few months after the same requirement for private employers was rescinded by the mayor.

“City workers stepped up tremendously throughout the pandemic. From our health care frontline workers and first responders who saved lives, to the city employees who kept our streets clean, our schools open, and our streets safe, we owe city workers a debt of gratitude for their service during New York City’s darkest days,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement announcing the move.

Beginning Friday, the shot will no longer be mandatory for municipal workers in the city, as well as for those who work for the New York City Department of Education. Vaccination requirements for non-public school, early child care, and daycare staff will also be discontinued, he said.

“With more than 96 percent of city workers and more than 80 percent of New Yorkers having received their primary COVID-19 series and more tools readily available to keep us healthy, this is the right moment for this decision. I continue to urge every New Yorker to get vaccinated, get boosted, and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19,” Adams said.

The city will not be automatically reinstating the 1,780 city workers who were fired for refusing to get the vaccine; they must reapply for their positions and will not be given back pay, the New York Post reported.

The rule was originally imposed in October 2021 by former mayor Bill de Blasio, who also set a proof-of-vaccination requirement for entry into recreational establishments such as restaurants and concert venues.

Last February, New York Governor Kathy Hochul dropped the statewide school-masking mandate. A month later, Adams ended mask restrictions for K-12 schools in the city. However, it took a couple more months for Adams to revoke the mask mandate for preschoolers, the demographic at the lowest risk of developing severe complications from the disease, who attend public daycare. In June 2020, the mayor finally decided to make “masks optional for 2-4 year old children in all early childhood settings,” while still strongly recommending that New Yorkers of all ages continue to wear masks indoors.

A study published late last month by the Cochrane Library, a prestigious medical database considered very reliable in the field, indicated that wearing masks “probably makes little or no difference” for most users regardless of the type or grade of masks that is used.

“This amounts to the scientific nail in the coffin for mask mandates,” Kristen Walsh, a clinical professor of pediatrics in Morristown, New Jersey, told the Washington Free Beacon. “I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that some schools are still actively forcing children to wear masks, much less children who need to see faces to learn.”

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