A New York judge on Wednesday refused to pause a vaccine mandate set to take effect Friday for the city's municipal workforce, denying a police union's request for a temporary restraining order. Judge Lizette Colon ruled that the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate can take effect as scheduled while also ordering city officials to appear in court Nov. 12 to defend the requirement against a union lawsuit seeking to have it declared illegal, the AP reports. Colon, whose court is on Staten Island, ruled hours after hearing arguments from lawyers for the Police Benevolent Association, the city's largest police union, and the city, which prevailed in arguing the mandate should be implemented without delay.
Police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors, and most other city workers must show proof that they've gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 5pm Friday. Workers who don't comply will be put on unpaid leave starting Nov. 1. Previously, city workers were able to show proof of a negative test to stay on the job. PBA President Pat Lynch said in a statement that the ruling "sets the city up for a real crisis" and will "inevitably result in fewer cops available to protect our city."
As of Tuesday, 73% of police department personnel had gotten at least one vaccine dose, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told WPIX-TV on Wednesday. The fire department reported a vaccination rate of 68%. A firefighters union said it was holding a rally Thursday outside Mayor Bill de Blasio's official residence to protest the mandate. (Last week, the Supreme Court declined to block a statewide vaccine mandate in Maine.)