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Judge temporarily blocks New York City vaccine mandate for public sector

·2-min read

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - A New York judge has temporarily blocked New York City from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public-sector workers.

In an order on Tuesday, Justice Frank Nervo of the New York state court in Manhattan said the prohibition will remain in place pending a Dec. 14 hearing to consider a formal restraining order. He has not ruled on the mandate's merits.

Nervo's order came soon after Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City would also require private-sector workers to be vaccinated by Dec. 27, a first-in-the-nation mandate affecting about 184,000 businesses.

The city had on Oct. 20 announced the vaccine mandate for its approximately 160,000 public-sector employees, a group that includes police, firefighters and sanitation workers.

Vaccinations had been mandated in September for city teachers and healthcare workers, and most have been vaccinated.

Danielle Filson, the mayor's press secretary, said on Twitter the public-sector mandate had not been blocked, and that Nervo would not decide until the hearing.

About 94% of the city's 378,000 employees are vaccinated, up from 86% in late October, the mayor's office said on Monday.

"Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic," de Blasio said on Monday. His successor, Eric Adams, takes office in January.

Most courts have rejected legal challenges to various vaccine mandates imposed in New York City and state.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans last month put on hold President Joe Biden's nationwide vaccine mandate for companies with at least 100 workers.

Biden, de Blasio and Adams are Democrats.

The lead plaintiff in the public-sector mandate case is Anthony Marciano, a police detective on the force for 10 years.

He said he has natural immunity after recovering from COVID-19 and that requiring him to get vaccinated violated his constitutional and civil rights.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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