The New York State Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order against New York City’s vaccine requirements for municipal workers. The order means the city cannot enforce its COVID-19 vaccine mandates, pending a hearing on September 22nd.
Judge Laurence Love signed the order after the Municipal Labor Committee and other unions brought a lawsuit against the city, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the city’s Board of Education. In late July, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for all city workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly. All public school staff must be vaccinated but don’t have the option to test out. Both rules set deadlines for employees to get their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines by September 27th.
The petition argues that the city’s mandate should allow for religious and medical exemptions. It claims mandatory medical procedures violate the employees’ due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and Article I of the New York State Constitution. It also seeks alternative accommodations for unvaccinated education staff outside of disciplinary action and termination. Vaccine mandates have long been upheld, touting more than a century of legal precedent.
The news comes as a federal judge has issued a separate restraining order to temporarily block a state vaccine mandate for hospital workers and staff at long-term care facilities. If the state opposes the judge’s order, oral arguments will begin for that case on September 28th, a day after this mandate was supposed to take effect.