NYC, Big Employers Tackle Vaccine Refusals


New York became the first major city in the country to announce Tuesday that it would require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at restaurants, shows, and gyms, joining the growing list of state and local governments and major employers who do Strike hard line against the emerging Delta variant and vaccine holdouts.

Meat and poultry giant Tyson Foods said it will need all of its 120,000 or so U.S. employees to get on board over the next three months, making it one of the first major front-line employers to do so. And an estimated 150,000 unionized workers from the three major U.S. automakers will have to wear masks again as of Wednesday.

“The goal here is to convince everyone that now is the time. If we want to stop the Delta variant, now is the time. And that means you need to get vaccinated now, “said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when announcing the aggressive new measures, which will go into effect in mid-August.

Vaccination cards as well as state and city apps are accepted as proof of vaccination.

COVID-19 cases in the US have increased six-fold over the past month to an average of more than 85,000 a day, a level not seen since mid-February. The number of deaths has increased from an average of 254 per day to 386 in the past two weeks.

Florida now has more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than ever before during the outbreak – over 11,500. Louisiana reported an all-time high of more than 2,100 hospital patients with the virus, most of them unvaccinated. The vaccination rates in both countries are below the national average.

“They just come in faster than we let them go. They’re definitely in their 40s and 50s, ”said Justin Senior, CEO of the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance, which represents some of the largest hospitals in the state that care for the poor.

The crisis has turned into a race between the Delta variant and the vaccine. Experts say the vaccine is still highly effective in preventing serious illness and death from the more contagious mutated version.

Amid growing concerns over the way the virus is charging back, vaccinations across the country have started to rise slightly in recent weeks, averaging over half a million a day, but are still well below the peak from 3.4 million a day in April.

Seventy percent of the nation’s adults have had at least one vaccination, and nearly 61 percent are fully vaccinated – well below what President Joe Biden wanted of the US at the time.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for re-election next year while envisaging a 2024 presidential run, doubled on Tuesday when the state broke its record for COVID-19 hospital admissions again and insisted that the The increase will soon subside and it won’t impose any business restrictions or mask requirements. He encouraged people to get vaccinated.

“We’re not closing,” said DeSantis. “We will open the schools. We protect the job of every Floridian in this state. We protect people’s small businesses. “

The auto industry’s decision to re-mask itself was made by representatives from General Motors, Ford, Chrysler’s parent company, and the United Auto Workers union, and even applies to vaccinated workers. The move takes place less than a month after vaccinated auto workers were allowed to take off their masks.

Regarding Tyson, Donnie King, CEO of the Springdale, Arkansas company, said in a memo to employees that vaccine needs are needed to overcome persistent reluctance to receive the injections.

“We didn’t make this decision easy for ourselves. We spent months encouraging our team members to get vaccinated – less than half of our team members today, ”King wrote.

In New York, Sean Ogs, manager of the Woodside Cafe in Queens, said he was “devastated” when he heard the news of mandatory vaccinations for customers.

“We were already in a fight. I don’t know how to deal with it, ”said Ogs. “That will be additional work. It will make things impossible. “

Debbie McCarthy, a regular at Woodside Cafe who is unvaccinated, said she was turned away over the weekend by several facilities that had already started asking for evidence.

“I’m a little shocked that they would do that,” said McCarthy, who said she recovered from COVID-19 months ago and believes her antibodies will protect her from further infection. “Why are you so afraid of people who haven’t been vaccinated? I think we should have a choice. “


Associated Press Writer Alexandra Olson in New York; Tom Krisher in Detroit; and Freida Frisaro and Kelli Kennedy of Fort Lauderdale, Florida contributed to this report.

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