New York City has appealed a Tuesday decision that ruled the city’s vaccine mandate unconstitutional and ordered all city employees fired for their vaccination status reinstated with backpay.
The ruling, from Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio, argued that there was no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine blocks the contraction or transmission of the virus. NYC fired roughly 1,700 employees in February for refusing to get vaccinated. City officials argue that the vaccine mandate was “firmly grounded in law and is critical to New Yorkers’ public health,” a spokesman for the New York City Law Department told the Washington Post.
Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio first instated the mandate for city workers before leaving office in 2021. Workers were required to show proof of at least one vaccine dose by November 1 of that year. De Blasio also imposed a mandate on public-facing private companies.
The city allowed exceptions for professional athletes and performers, however, leading to outrage from members of the police and fire departments.
NYC MAYOR OFFICIAL EXEMPTS ATHLETES, PERFORMERS FROM COVID VAX MANDATE
NYC WON’T REHIRE UNVACCINATED WORKERS, MAYOR SAYS
“If you’re going to remove the vaccine mandate for certain people in the city, you need to remove it for everybody in the city,” FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro said of the mandates. “If you’re going to follow the science, science is going to tell you there isn’t any danger right now, and putting hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers out of work is not in the best interest of the city. It’s not safe.”
Porzio highlighted the exceptions in his ruling as well, saying that such exceptions would not have existed if the mandates were truly in the service of public health.
While Mayor Eric Adams has announced plans to cut the vaccine mandate for private companies, his administration has no intention of relaxing the existing mandate for city workers.
Porzio’s ruling will now go under review in a New York appellate court.