New York City police officials, confronting a lagging vaccination rate among officers even as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise in the city, warned officers that they would discipline unvaccinated personnel who do not wear masks while on duty, reports the New York Times. New York’s Police Department appears to have one of the lowest vaccination rates among city agencies. As of this week, about 47 percent of the department’s 36,000 uniformed and 15,000 civilian employees have been vaccinated.
Officers who do not submit proof that they are vaccinated will be required to “wear a face covering at all times while working,” whether inside, outside or driving in police vehicles. They will be allowed to remove them while eating or drinking, if they have difficulty breathing or are otherwise “engaging in reasonable activities” like adjusting their masks. Those officers who did not comply will face “appropriate disciplinary action.” The mask guidance issued this week said all officers, vaccinated or not, must have face coverings when in schools, on public transit or in congregate settings like homeless shelters, jails, nursing homes and health care facilities. What kind of discipline noncompliant officers may face remains undisclosed.