ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to proceed with vaccine mandates in New York City and across the Empire State — despite separate legal challenges to the directives.
Hochul said her administration intentionally did not include religious exemptions for the mandatory vaccination requirements that ordered all healthcare workers in the state to receive the shot by Sept. 27.
“We left off that in our regulations intentionally … we’ll be defending this in court. To the extent that there’s leadership of different religious organizations that have spoken, and they have, I’m not aware of a sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion. In fact, they’re encouraging the opposite,” Hochul said during an Albany-based press conference Wednesday.
“There’ll be some individuals who will try to defy this, they’ll be court decisions that we’ll appeal. We’re going to continue appealing those and trying to win on the merits in the case. We just had in the Northern District of New York, we’ll deal with that in court,” she told reporters.
Federal judge David Hurd granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday in response to a lawsuit filed Monday by 17 healthcare workers opposed to the vaccine because they “employ aborted fetus cell lines in their testing, development, or production.”
“The vaccine mandate is suspended in operation to the extent that the [Department of Health] is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccinations or that they revoke any exemptions already granted before the vaccine mandate issued,” he wrote in his decision.
The state mandate takes effect Sept. 27 and oral arguments are scheduled for the next day, Sept. 28.
Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Education’s mandatory vaccination requirement for all school teachers and staff was dealt a blow Tuesday night in a similar, but separate court decision.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Laurence L. Love issued a temporary restraining order barring City Hall from ordering staffers to get the shot by Sept. 27th or risk termination, following a lawsuit brought by a group of municipal unions against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s directive.
“It doesn’t change our approach,” Hizzoner said Wednesday during his daily briefing from City Hall.
“It’s a very temporary action to get to the court date where the actual case will be heard. We’re very very confident in our legal position.”
“We’re continuing to build the framework for full implementation on the 27th,” he noted.
Oral arguments are set for Sept. 22.