New York City was warned. They saw it coming, but they chose to go down this road anyway, like a deer hypnotized by the headlights of its own doom.
The Big Apple’s firefighters, under the duress of a looming vaccine mandate, have now put their foot down, and it’s affecting a great deal of the city in a dangerous fashion.
Roughly 2,300 members of the New York City Fire Department claimed they were sick and didn’t show up to work on Monday as the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers went into effect.
All city workers were required to have received at least one dose of the vaccine by October 29. City leaders suspect many of those who didn’t roll up their sleeves feigned illness to avoid being disciplined for failing to comply with the health requirement. Roughly 9,000 municipal workers were put on unpaid leave Monday for failing to meet the deadline and comply with the COVID-19 mandate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said on Monday that firefighters had plenty of time to get vaccinated, and he implored those who have yet to get jabbed to get their shots so they can return to work. Normally, on any given day fewer than 1,000 department member would be out sick, he said. The FDNY employs about 11,000 uniformed workers.
The absent workers were soon threatened by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We have every reason to believe we have a lot of people out there claiming they are sick when they are not,” de Blasio said in a press conference Monday, noting there could be “real consequences” for employees who are determined to have lied about their health status. “This is something we don’t tolerate.”
“It is imperative that everyone come to work and do their job. The taxpayers of this city rely on all of our public services, particularly our first responders,” the mayor added.
The sickout could cause some entire fire companies to close, at least temporarily, leaving New Yorkers in a much more dangerous position than had the firefighter that they may interact with someday wasn’t vaccinated.