NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all MTA employees and New York employees of the Port Authority must be vaccinated or tested weekly starting Labor Day.
The governor had just imposed similar requirements on state employees last week.
He said additional vaccination sites will be opening now and additional testing sites will open in September so that it "won't be a hardship."
"The MTA has no higher priority than the health and safety of our workforce. This new vaccine and testing mandate is being introduced to make sure our employees are as protected as possible against the Delta variant as the region's recovery picks up speed. To date, nearly 70% of our workforce has already been vaccinated - including some who got their doses in their home neighborhoods at pharmacies and other local sites. It's great progress but we can and must do better in the interest of public health and safety," said Janno Lieber, Acting MTA Chairman & CEO.
"Throughout the pandemic, the Port Authority has taken a multitude of actions to implement health and safety protocols that protect travelers and employees. We have always looked to the states for guidance and that's what we are doing now. The Port Authority will be redoubling our efforts to get employees vaccinated and we will be carefully consulting with leaders of all Port Authority unions on implementation plans for the weekly testing program," said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ.
The number of cases in the state has increased four-fold in the last month. Hospitalizations have doubled.
If the numbers get worse, Cuomo said he would consider mandatory vaccine for teachers and nursing home employees.
"If you want to teach my kids, I think you should be vaccinated. And if you want to take care of my mother in a nursing home, I think you should be vaccinated. That's how it came into the nursing homes in the first place," he said.
The governor also said he is encouraging restaurants, bars and other business owners to adopt a vaccine-only policy.
"Go to vaccine-only admissions," Cuomo said. "I believe it's in your business interest."
For state-run hospitals there will be no weekly testing option.
All patient-facing health care workers in state-run hospitals must get vaccinated, with no testing option, Cuomo said.
"That is a point of contact that could be a serious spreading event," he said. "We want to make sure those workers are vaccinated, period."
Civil Service Employees Association President Mary Sullivan released a statement on the governor's policy.
"CSEA supports the governor's vaccine-or-test policy," she said. "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."
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
Submit a News Tip or Question