The measure covers 340,000 workers and will take effect in September with the resumption of school classes. The requirement had already been raised for health personnel, and the mayor urged the private sector to adopt similar standards.
The city of New York will require all municipal workers - including teachers and police officers vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly tests COVID-19, announced on Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The rule is expected to cover 340,000 municipal employees, making the city the largest employee in the United States to take action. Although this is not a vaccination mandate - no worker will be required to be vaccinated - authorities hope that the inconvenience and discomfort of weekly tests will persuade many to overcome their reluctance to get vaccinated.
It's about our recovery. "It's about what we have to do to get New York City back," de Blasio said. It's about keeping people safe.
The Sept. 13 deadline coincides with the start of public school when the Democratic mayor has said he expects all students to be in class full-time. As a result, city health workers and employees in reception centers, such as group residences, will face earlier deadlines.
De Blasio has said he does not plan to reimpose a broad indoor mask mandate, as Los Angeles County has done. Masks are necessary for some environments, such as public transportation. As he explained, city employees who are not vaccinated must wear masks indoors at all times.
The move comes as the city battles a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. Since the end of June, the daily average of new cases has increased by more than 300%.
Last week, the city announced it would introduce weekly vaccinations or worker screening in the city's hospital system.
De Blasio raised the need on Monday, urging private employers to adopt similar rules. "My message to the private sector is: go as far as you can go right now," said the mayor. "I strongly urge that a vaccination mandate be established whenever possible, or as close to it ."
The number of daily vaccine doses distributed in the city has dropped to less than 18,000, from more than 100,000 in early April. About 65% of the city's adults have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the number of cases has been rising for weeks, and health officials say there are seven out of 10 cases in various cases.