The New York Police Department has decided to pay unvaccinated law enforcement members to encourage them to undergo weekly coronavirus tests.
The New York Post reported Saturday, Sept. 11, “aside from employing some financial aid, several members can be pulled off their patrol duty to help others performing the tests. The officers can still continue their duty while the results are processed.”
Face masks are compulsory for all the unvaccinated officers at all times.
This was a slightly softer approach after an earlier memo that the unvaccinated members of the department be sent home without pay if they fail to provide a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days, the broadcaster noted.
The department’s harsh requirements were implemented based on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive order in July.
The order compelled city workers to either get vaccinated or undertake regular COVID-19 tests. Those who had not received the jabs were also required to wear masks indoors at all times.
Failing to comply with the policies would result in the employee having a day off without pay, the order said, according to the Post.
The mayor justified his harsh push for vaccination on the Delta variant.
“If people want freedom, if people want jobs, if people want to be able to live again, we have got to get more people vaccinated,” de Blasio said.
Despite the policies aiming to curb the highly transmissive Delta variant virus, only 50% of NYPD members are fully immunized. This means many of them would have to take weekly COVID-19 tests.
In order to facilitate the significant number of police subjected to such testing, there will be testing centers to serve eight to 10 of the commands, while the rest of them could take self-testing kits.
However, the department would not enact the policy by Monday, Sept. 13, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s requirement for all public workers.
In an email to members that the Post was able to view, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch expected that the testing program would be announced next week, and the deadline was “no longer valid.”
Yet, he still noted that “this information remains subject to change” and the union was waiting for “a formal Department communication.”
Only 47% of the roughly 35,000 uniformed officers and approximately 18,000 civilian personnel were immunized as of last month. In total, nearly 80% of city dwellers have received at least one dosage of the COVID-19 vaccines.
De Blasio last month had also issued a vaccination proof program, shutting many indoor services from unvaccinated citizens, including dining, fitness, and entertainment.
The program is also expected to go into effect next Monday, and people will have to present their immunization status in order to access the facilities.