New NYC COVID vaccine mandate takes effect, subway testing sites open

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Testing sites open in NYC subways, service cuts expected
Chantee Lans has the latest on omicron's impact on the MTA and subway service.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all New York City businesses took effect Monday.

The mayor announced the mandate earlier this month, which requires all private-sector workers to show proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose to their employers.

Those employers must keep full records of their workers' vaccination statuses.

The mayor said businesses that do not comply could face a fine that starts at $1,000.

"We will start the most important, most aggressive vaccine mandate in the entire country for all private-sector employees and that's what's going to see us through," he said. "We are going to find our way through this and then put the COVID era behind us."

ALSO READ | Where to find a COVID test

With COVID-19 cases spiking in New York City, officials are opening more testing sites. N.J. Burkett reports with the latest.

Another city mandate that started Monday requires anyone 12 and older to show proof of two vaccine doses to dine indoors, enter gyms, and indoor entertainment venues like the movies and Broadway shows.

There is an exception for those who received the single dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.

De Blasio said the city had administered 180,000 booster vaccine doses since he announced a new $100 incentive, which runs through the end of the year.

He said the incentive increased the number of booster shots from 1.7 million doses to more than 1.9 million.

Meanwhile, the MTA is alerting passengers that fewer trains will be running through at least Thursday due to staffing shortages because of a high number of COVID-19 cases among MTA workers.

The agency says it's taking steps to try to make service as consistent and reliable as possible, but that there may be long wait times for trains.

Governor Kathy Hochul said the state will not require MTA workers be vaccinated, fearing it would exacerbate current staffing shortages. Currently, unvaccinated MTA workers can get tested weekly.

ALSO READ | Pediatric hospitalizations up 395% in NYC amid COVID-19 surge

New York State reported a "striking increase" in new hospital admissions for children as pediatric COVID cases in the U.S. continue to rise.

Also Monday, several new COVID-19 testing sites open across the city, including two targeting busy midtown subway stations -- marking the first time state-funded PCR testing is being done in the subways.

The testing is available at the Times Square subway station and at Grand Central Terminal, on top of seven other new brick and mortar testing sites opening across the five boroughs.

Penn station will have a testing site on Thursday, along with other subway sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and two in Queens.

The MTA says the tests are available to anyone who wants them, including undocumented immigrants and tourists.

The J&J vaccine was offered at pop up sites in subway stations earlier this year, and Moderna vaccines and boosters are now being offered.

The MTA says more than 37,000 people have been vaccinated at those sites.

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