Gov. Cuomo mandates vaccinations for transit workers as New York’s Covid cases surge

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

Mary Altaffer | Pool | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a vaccine mandate for employees of the state’s MTA and Port Authority at a press conference Monday, giving transportation workers the option to get vaccinated by Labor Day or face weekly coronavirus testing.

The mandate is similar to an order Cuomo issued for state hospital employees last week in response to the surging delta variant, requiring vaccinations by Labor Day for anyone who regularly treats patients without the alternative of providing regular negative test results. Port Authority’s website says the agency employs nearly 7,000 workers, while the MTA employed about 67,000, according to a recent report.

“I don’t believe a mask policy is going to be enough,” Cuomo said at the press conference. “I think we’re going to have to talk about a vaccination policy.”

The governor’s announcement follows a week that saw New York’s seven-day coronavirus case count average jump to 2,418, an increase of 81% from the prior week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“You should be vaccinated, or don’t work in a frontline position,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo previously lifted New York’s mask requirements for vaccinated individuals when he adopted the CDC’s guidance for the fully inoculated on May 17. New York subsequently eliminated Covid restrictions on businesses, social gatherings, and construction on June 15, after the state reported a seven-day positivity rate of 0.41% the week prior and 70% of all residents had received at least one vaccine dose.

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