Tens of thousands of New York City employees — including police, fire and sanitation workers — could face unpaid leave Monday as a contentious vaccine mandate goes into effect.
The consequences could be dramatic on the essential services the city depends on: Some 24,200 employees subject to the mandate hadn’t received a shot as of Saturday, and already firefighters are calling in sick in higher numbers and trash has been reported piling up on sidewalks.
Tensions are high, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying he won’t back down and city workers protesting in front of his home at Gracie Mansion. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigiro on Saturday said that some firefighters were already engaged in a work slowdown.
“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters,” Nigirio said in a statement, without providing details. “They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions.”
Workers rushed for last-minute shots before Monday: Almost 10,000 workers got their first required doses between Thursday and Saturday.
The vaccination rate in the sanitation department jumped to 79% on Saturday from 67% on Thursday. The rate for the police department increased to 84%, while the fire department’s rate rose to 78%.
Still, the city is preparing for labor shortages.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Fox 5 New York on Friday that “thousands” of officers had submitted applications for “reasonable accommodations” instead of vaccination. Officers who did so before Wednesday would be allowed to work, but would undergo testing while their claims were judged, he said.
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, Has Been Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
This follows his transfer to a medical facility in December
The new comes from a letter he wrote:
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
Boston Mayor Wu Relentlessly Heckled As New COVID-19 Restrictions Are Announced
Boston unveils the ‘Be Together’ initiative, requiring full vaccination for entry to restaurants, gyms, and sports arenas for anyone 12 and older. In March the mandate will phase-in for younger children.