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FDNY stations are set to close as 33% of the Department remains unvaccinated, city deadline passes

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Tracey Porpora

Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

As the deadline looms for the coronavirus (COVID-19) mandate requiring all city workers to be vaccinated with at least one dose by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, there are still a large number of firefighters ( FDNY), Sanitation workers (DSNY) and police officers ( NYPD) who haven’t gotten the shot.

In fact, some fear this will result in half-empty firehouses, fewer emergency dispatchers and watered-down city services on Staten Island and across the Big Apple.

Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all city workers must have proof of at least one shot of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine by Friday, Oct. 29 or they will be placed on unpaid leave on Nov. 1.

“There is no greater privilege than serving the people of New York City, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep yourself and your community safe,” de Blasio said last week. “Now is the time for them to show their city the path out of this pandemic once and for all.”

City Hall records show that while more members of city agencies have opted to get the vaccine as the deadline nears, there isn’t 100% compliance at most municipal entities.

According to City Hall, these are the percentages by agency of its workers who are vaccinated from Oct. 19 and from Oct. 28, the day before the mandate takes effect:

—FDNY EMS — was 61%, now is 77%

—FDNY FIRE — was 60%, now is 67%

—NYPD — was 70%, now is 79%

—DSNY — was 62%, now is 67%

—DOT — was 72%, now is 83%

If more workers don’t get the shot, this mean there will be 21% fewer police officers, 33% fewer firefighters and 33% fewer DSNY employees in the city.

In response to the mandate, there have been protests on Staten Island and across the city, and even lawsuits filed.

LAWSUIT

Earlier this week, a Staten Island judge rejected the city’s largest police union’s attempt to block the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate for city workers.

State Supreme Court judge Lizette Colon, who presided over the case, gave no explanation in her ruling denying the Police Benevolent Association’s motion for a temporary restraining order on the city’s vaccine mandate.

GARBAGE

Among the ways the city Sanitation Department (DSNY) is dealing with cleaning up piles of trash mounting across Staten Island is by cancelling workers’ days off, working longer shifts and Sundays, said de Blasio on Thursday.

De Blasio said DSNY workers will face consequences if they refuse to pick up trash that is mounting on curbs across the borough — as well as other parts of the city — over the last week.

“We’re definitely seeing that problem in some parts of the city, and it’s unacceptable. I just want to make it really, really clear. It’s unacceptable,” said de Blasio.

DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson said earlier this week that the delayed pick-ups in many areas are a result of the upcoming vaccine mandate for city workers.

COULD FERRY SERVICE BE IMPACTED?

On the Staten Island Ferry, which has already been forced to run reduced service numerous times in recent months due to ongoing staff shortages, city officials and labor leaders say that the vaccine mandate is not expected to significantly impact service levels.

“We do not expect the mandate to have a significant impact on operations and we have contingency plans in place,” said Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesman Scott Gastel.

Representatives from the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the union that represents the captains, assistant captains, mates, chief engineers and marine engineers on the Staten Island Ferry, said that they do not keep vaccination records for their members, but claimed that the majority are vaccinated and that “the mandate is pretty a much a non-issue for the ferry workers.”

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