De Blasio says ‘voluntary phase is over’ on vaccines

De Blasio says ‘voluntary phase is over’ on vaccines
Bill de Blasio (Image: YouTube screen grab)

By Steven Hall

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the “voluntary phase is over” for COVID-19 vaccinations, the New York City Democrat told MSNBC Tuesday.

“We’ve got to shake people at this point and say, ‘Come on now.’ We tried voluntary. We could not have been more kind and compassionate,” de Blasio said on MSNBC. “Free testing, everywhere you turn, incentives, friendly, warm embrace. The voluntary phase is over.”

De Blasio was asked if the city will require all city workers to be vaccinated. “Yes, we are climbing a ladder. I’m not answering yes to your question yet,” he told MSNBC.

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De Blasio announced Monday that all city employees would need to submit weekly testing if they aren’t vaccinated against the coronavirus. In addition, unvaccinated city workers are required to wear a mask at their workplaces or they will be removed and suspended without pay.

“On Sept. 13 the entire city workforce will be mandated under the COVID safety mandate to either get vaccinated, which is far preferable, or get tested once a week,” de Blasio said. “This is about our recovery. … [T]his is about keeping people safe.”

Only 43% of the New York City Police Department’s active workforce are vaccinated. Over 23,000 of the police department’s 54,000 employees are fully vaccinated.

“We’ve got to shake people at this point and say, ‘Come on now.’ We tried voluntary. We could not have been more kind and compassionate,” de Blasio said on MSNBC. “Free testing, everywhere you turn, incentives, friendly, warm embrace. The voluntary phase is over.”

“We can keep doing those things. I’m not saying shut it down. I’m saying voluntary alone doesn’t work,” he added. “It’s time for mandates, because it’s the only way to protect our people.”

De Blasio also said in early July that masks would be required in New York City grade schools this fall.

“I’m absolutely confident based on this guidance and everything else we’ve seen that we’ll be able to get all our kids back into school in September, but for now sticking with the idea that … wearing the masks is a smart thing to do in schools,” de Blasio said during the press conference. “We’ll keep assessing as we go along.”

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