Beginning Labor Day weekend, anyone working for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or the New York side of the port authority are required to either be fully vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests.
The move from state officials comes as the delta variant has created new spikes in infections and hospitalizations — something those same officials say afflicts primarily those who have not ventured out to get the vaccine.
“The MTA has no higher priority than the health and safety of our work force,” said Janno Lieber, the MTA’s acting chair and chief executive, in a release. “This new vaccine and testing mandate is being introduced to make sure our employees are as protected as possible against the delta variant as the region’s recovery picks up speed.”
Nearly 70 percent of the MTA work force is already vaccinated, Lieber said.
“It’s great progress, but we can — and must — do better in the interest of public health and safety,” he added.
With the mandate comes the opening of several new vaccination sites designed to make getting the shot more convenient to MTA workers. They include locations not just inside the city, but along many of the Metro-North train routes.
The state has banned solitary confinement in jails. Yet, many — including New York City — aren’t complying, lawmakers said, prompting a letter to city council Speaker Corey Johnson demanding his body pass legislation to end solitary confinement here.
State lawmakers say the city has done nothing more than remove the term “solitary” from its practice, still locking people alone in cells for 23 hours every day, indefinitely. Legislators say the city violates the state law which prohibits 15 consecutive days of solitary, bans certain groups from spending any time in solitary, and requiring those who are in solitary to have at least four hours each day of out-of-cell programming
Those looking to end solitary confinement completely “see this for what it is,” state Sen. Julia Salazar — the lead sponsor of the state bill — said in a release.