MTA delays COVID-19 vaccine mandate to after Labor Day

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The MTA will not require COVID-19 tests for its unvaccinated workers “for the time being” following the state’s decision to delay the vaccine-or-test plan for transit employees, The Post has learned.

“While the testing sites will be operational on Sept. 7, as we’ve always planned, MTA has decided to defer compliance standards at this time,” Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren wrote in an email over the weekend to MTA employees. “Testing, while strongly encouraged, will remain voluntary for the time being.”

Ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced mandatory vaccines for state workers, including MTA and Port Authority employees, before resigning in disgrace late last month.

Employees who declined to get inoculated would be required to get tested weekly for the virus beginning after Labor Day, Cuomo said at the time.

The MTA announced that is delaying it's COVID-19 vaccine plan, which would mandate everyone to get the vaccine or submit to a weekly test.
The MTA announced that is delaying it’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, which would mandate everyone to get the vaccine or submit to a weekly test.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

But the state pushed the start of the vaccine-or-test mandate until “mid-October,” according to Warren’s MTA email dated Sunday and obtained by The Post.

In light of that decision, Warren cited “several factors” for the MTA making COVID-19 tests voluntary for now, including “several issues raised by our labor unions” and last week’s twin crises — Hurricane Ida and an Aug. 29 power surge that shut down half the subway for nearly five hours.

“In the past week the attention of the organization and our workforce has appropriately been focused on responding to and repairing the extraordinary damage caused by Ida and the RCC-related subway emergency last Sunday,” Warren wrote.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo initially said the mandate would take place on September 7, 2021 before his resignation.
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo initially said the mandate would take place on September 7, 2021 before his resignation.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

MTA spokesman Tim Minton declined to discuss labor union concerns on the record.

“The MTA’s top priority is the health and safety of our employees, colleagues and their families,” Minton said in a statement. “We firmly believe that our labor partners share that goal and will work with them to achieve it.”

The state employs about 130,000 people, while the MTA has around 70,000.

The deadline push comes after Hurricane Ida caused several power outages on August 29, 2021.
The deadline push comes after Hurricane Ida caused several power outages on August 29, 2021.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

A rep for Hochul’s office did not return a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan



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