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COVID-19: City In Westchester To Mandate Employees, School Workers Get Vaccinated

City employees in Yonkers will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
City employees in Yonkers will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo Credit: NJ Office of the Governor

Westchester’s largest city will be following the state’s lead in mandating all municipal workers and school employees take the COVID-19 vaccine or else face repeated testing for the virus.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced on Wednesday, July 28 that all municipal and Yonkers School District employees must provide one-time proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 6) or undergo weekly testing.

The move comes hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced similar measures for all state employees and public-facing employees at state-run hospitals.

Spano said that the mandate comes as COVID-19 cases resurge across the nation along with the rise of the virus’ delta variant, particularly among those who have not been vaccinated.

In Westchester, as of Wednesday, July 28, there are 929 active COVID-19 cases as the county contends with the Delta variant of the virus. In Yonkers, there are currently 214 cases being monitored, the most in the county.

No other community is reporting more than 100 active cases.

Under the new guidance, Spano said that all unvaccinated employees must wear a mask indoors at their workstation, while vaccinated employees who do not interact with the public are currently not required to wear masks at their workstations, though they may choose to continue to do so.

City and Yonkers Board of Education workers who interact with the public, including students and their families, must continue to wear masks at all times regardless of vaccination status.

In addition, all employees must still wear a face covering when entering the buildings, traveling to their workspace, and in elevators. Face coverings are required for all visitors while in any city or school facility.

Yonkers Schools Superintendent Edwin Quezada took to social media to express his support of Spano’s decision to require vaccinations.

“I applaud and support Mayor’s Spano decision!,” he posted on Twitter. “The safety of our students and staff must be our number one priority.”

Yonkers’ 2,000 full-time municipal employees must show proof of vaccination or undergo routine testing by Labor Day, while the 3,500 full-time Yonkers Board of Education employees must do so by Wednesday, Sept. 1, the start of the new school year.

“We have fought long and hard to combat this pandemic and this is not the time to back down as this virus evolves,” Spano said. “Yonkers must continue on its road to recovery and that means ensuring that our workforce is protected and protects the residents we serve. We are in this together

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