U.S. immigration agents to pilot use of body-worn cameras

By Mica Rosenberg

(Reuters) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is rolling out a pilot program to test the feasibility of requiring immigration agents to wear body cameras, a senior agency official said on Tuesday, a move that could aid criminal investigations as well increase oversight of agents’ activities.

The cameras are expected to be rolled out first only among specialized teams in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division to around 55 agents in offices in New York City, Newark, New Jersey and Houston, Texas, the official told reporters.

The HSI officers, who target transnational criminal organizations for money laundering, drug trafficking, smuggling, terrorism and other crimes, would use the cameras only in pre-planned operations.

The official said the pilot program will be expanded to immigration agents at ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations division in the near future, without giving a specific date. The agency said the timing is dependent on negotiations with the division’s union.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported on a plan to equip thousands of border agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection with body-worn cameras as well.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have called on expanded use of the cameras in law enforcement to provide a record of potential abuses. ICE has been criticized by some advocates for some of its agents’ tactics arresting immigrants in the country illegally.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whose agency oversees ICE, said in a statement that with the pilot, the agency “is making an important statement that transparency and accountability are essential components of our ability to fulfill our law enforcement mission and keep communities safe.”

Under U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat who promised a more humane approach to immigration enforcement than his hardline predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, ICE arrests have dropped, with the agency focusing on those who pose national security or public safety risks.

The senior official said the pilot program would be “test driving” the cameras to assess their operational utility and financial costs.

The footage collected would be subject to freedom of information laws and could also potentially be used in criminal prosecutions.

The official said the cameras, which will be mounted on agents’ vests, shirts or helmets, would be provided by Axon Enterprises Inc, which also contracted to outfit the border agents.

The company declined to comment on the pilot program.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Rise of Omicron dashes New York’s Christmas cheer as COVID surges

By Maria Caspani and Gabriella Borter

NEW YORK (Reuters) -COVID-19 cases surged in New York City and around the United States over the weekend, dashing hopes for a more normal holiday season, resurrecting restrictions and stretching the country’s testing infrastructure ahead of holiday travel and gatherings.

The spike is alarming public health officials, who see the Omicron variant of the coronavirus fast becoming dominant in the United States and fear an explosion of infections after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

With the new variant in circulation, COVID-19 cases are now doubling in one and a half to three days in areas with community transmission, the World Health Organization said on Saturday.

Lines for COVID-19 tests wrapped around the block in New York, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities over the weekend as people clamored to find out if they were infected before celebrating the holidays with family.

“I just want to make sure before seeing my wife’s 70-year-old mom that I’m negative,” said David Jochnowitz while waiting for a test in Washington.

With a rapid rise in infections, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday reinstated an indoor mask mandate until the end of January and required government workers to get vaccinated, including a booster shot.

“I think we’re all tired of it,” Bowser told reporters. “I’m tired of it too, but we have to respond to what’s happening in our city and what’s happening in our nation.”

In New York City, COVID-19 cases rose 60% in the week that ended on Sunday as the Omicron variant spread rapidly around the U.S. northeast. New York has set records for the most new cases reported in a single day since the pandemic started for three consecutive days.

“It is a predictor of what the rest of the country will see soon, and the minimum – since NYC is highly vaccinated – of what other parts of the country will experience in under-vaccinated cities and states,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director for American Public Health Association.

Many Broadway productions canceled performances as cast and crew have become infected. The popular “Hamilton” production on Monday extended cancellations until after Christmas due to breakthrough COVID-19 infections.

Breakthrough infections are rising among the 61% of the country’s fully vaccinated population, including the 30% who have gotten booster shots.

Omicron appears to be causing milder symptoms in vaccinated populations, and health experts remain optimistic this wave might not cause the same spikes in hospitalizations and deaths as previous surges.

‘JUST STAY HOME’

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi on Monday said that while new COVID-19 cases have “increased sharply,” hospitalizations have not jumped at the same rate. He credited vaccinations and booster shots, which help prevent severe illness, and urged that more were needed to build a “sea wall” against the variant.

The rise of Omicron prompted Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday to require all students, faculty and staff to get a COVID-19 booster shot for the upcoming spring semester.

On Monday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced he tested positive for COVID-19. U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren said the same on Sunday. All three said they had been vaccinated and boosted.

Nationally, cases rose 9% in the past week but are up 57% since the start of December, according to a Reuters tally. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients have increased 26% this month, with hospitals in some areas already strained by the Delta variant.

While cases climbed in the U.S. Northeast, Midwest hospitals are still dealing with a surge in patients from a Delta wave this fall. Michigan, Indiana and Ohio have the nation’s most hospitalized COVID patients per 100,000 residents, a Reuters tally found.

In New York City, the daily test rate reached an average of 130,000 per day, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Monday, more than double three weeks ago.

With demand for tests exceeding capacity, de Blasio said the city was working with the White House and private sector to help increase testing availability.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Monday she was ramping up the state’s testing program, with 1 million kits arriving this week and the same amount in each of the next two weeks.

“More and more people are going to be testing positive from this,” she said. For those who do, she advised: “Just stay home, do not go out. Don’t go to work. Don’t go see your family.”

Omicron’s arrival is a headwind for an economic revival in New York that already lags the rest of the country, especially where employment is concerned.

The pandemic delivered an even larger body blow to the city than the country because of the outsized role played by tourism, leisure and hospitality, which suffered the worst under lockdowns and travel restrictions. New York’s jobless rate topped out at 20% in the spring of 2020 – more than 5 percentage points above the U.S. average, and is still 9%, more than twice the national rate.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York, Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Additional reporting and writing by Gabriella Borter in Washington and Peter Szekely in New York; Additional reporting by Carl O’Donnell in New York and and Greg Savoy in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

New York City set to ban natural gas in new buildings

By Scott DiSavino

(Reuters) -The New York City Council is expected to vote on Wednesday to ban natural gas in new buildings, following in the footsteps of dozens of other smaller U.S. cities seeking to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy.

Should the law pass, new buildings in the city of 8.8 million residents – biggest in the United States – will have to use electricity for heat and cooking.

In the near-term, the new law will do little to reduce carbon emissions in the Big Apple, as numerous older buildings will not be affected, and the new structures would use electricity generated with fossil fuels anyway. Longer-term, however, the state plans to stop using fossil fuels to generate power.

The law would apply to new buildings under seven stories high at the end of 2023 and those over seven stories in 2027. Until now, the most populated U.S. city that has banned natural gas in new buildings is San Jose in California with about 1 million residents.

There are exceptions for some buildings used for certain activities, including manufacturing, hospitals, commercial kitchens and laundromats.

In 2020, U.S. carbon emissions from fossil fuels fell to their lowest since 1983, but were expected to rise about 7% in 2021 because power providers were burning more coal to generate electricity due to a sharp increase in natural gas costs.

New York’s move could mean a higher price tag for buildings using electricity for heat than those relying on natural gas. This winter, the average household in the U.S. Northeast is expected to pay $1,538 to heat their home with electricity, compared with natural gas at about $865.

“Using gas to produce power and then subsequently heat buildings is less efficient than using gas for heating directly,” analysts at energy consultancy EBW Analytics Group said.

Almost half of the power generated in New York State so far this year came from burning fossil fuels – 45% from gas and 4% from oil – with another 24% from nuclear power and 22% from hydropower, according to federal energy data.

The power sector’s carbon emissions in New York State should decline in the future because the state passed a law in 2019 requiring all electricity to come from clean, carbon-free sources of energy like renewables and nuclear by 2040.

Burning fuels for space and water heating in buildings accounts for nearly 40% of the city’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to environmental advocacy group RMI, which evaluated city greenhouse gas data.

“Burning fracked gas to power buildings is a main driver of climate change and air pollution, which leads to catastrophic climate events and the premature death of an estimated one thousand New York City residents per year,” Food & Water Watch and other environmental groups said in a statement.

The oil and gas industry, which opposed the proposal, said using gas for space heating would keep customer costs lower and reduce emissions especially when combined with clean fuels like hydrogen and renewable natural gas from landfills.

“Energy-efficient, low-carbon buildings could be powered by an innovative combination of natural gas and renewable energy (such as hydrogen) to both lower emissions and utility bills,” the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas lobby group, said as part of the city council hearings on the bill.

In Europe, meanwhile, where natural gas shortages have caused energy prices to spike to record highs in recent months, the European Union is considering whether to label gas-fired power plants as a green investment in efforts to reach climate goals.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Incoming New York mayor to appoint first woman to lead city’s police department

(Reuters) – New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams will appoint a woman to serve as commissioner of the city’s police department for the first time in its 176-year history, local media reported on Tuesday.

Adams, himself a former New York City police captain, will introduce Keechant Sewell at a news conference in Queens on Wednesday, New York’s Daily News reported.

“Keechant Sewell is a proven crime fighter with the experience and emotional intelligence to deliver both the safety New Yorkers need and the justice they deserve,” Adams said in a statement published by the newspaper.

The New York Times reported that Sewell is a 23-year veteran of the police department in Nassau County, New York, where she is chief of detectives. She would be New York City’s third Black police commissioner.

The current commissioner, Dermot Shea, was appointed in 2019 by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We welcome Chief Sewell to the second-toughest policing job in America,” Patrick Lynch, president of the city’s major police union, said in a written statement. “The toughest, of course, is being an NYPD cop on the street.”

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)

New York set to become largest U.S. city to enable non-citizen voting

By Peter Szekely

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City was poised on Thursday to become the largest U.S. city to allow non-citizen immigrants who are in the country legally to vote in municipal elections.

The City Council was set to enact a measure that would enable more than 800,000 permanent U.S. residents, or green-card holders, and other legally documented non-citizens to take part in elections for city leaders, including the mayor. Non-citizen residents would not be allowed to vote in state or federal elections.

The bill, which was sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and has the support of Speaker Corey Johnson, would require immigrant voters to have lived in the city for at least 30 days. It has the support of a veto-proof majority of the 51-member council.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday reiterated that he has “mixed feelings” about the measure, saying there are “outstanding legal questions” about whether the city has the authority to enact such a measure.

“But I respect the City Council,” de Blasio told a reporter at a briefing. “My assumption is I’m just going to respect whatever they do.”

A report last year by the mayor’s office estimated that nearly 10% of the city’s 8.8 million residents were green-card holders or other immigrants with legal status.

At least 14 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, already allow non-citizens to vote in their municipal elections.

Supporters of the bill say it would enfranchise a huge bloc of legal residents who currently have no say over the taxes they pay, the schools their children attend or the other services they rely on.

The bill is opposed by the tiny Republican minority on the council, who say it would dilute the voting power of citizen voters and discourage immigrants from becoming citizens.

Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli the measure would make voting requirements in the city more lax than the home countries of many immigrants, and would enable them to vote in elections in both countries.

“If the champions of this bill really care about our democracy, they would encourage immigrants to strive toward American citizenship — not cheapen it by giving away the store,” Borelli said in an opinion piece in the New York Post last month.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

New York City mandates vaccines for all private businesses as Omicron spreads

By Peter Szekely and Brendan O’Brien

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City declared on Monday that all private-sector employers must implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their workers, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant has spread to at least one-third of U.S. states.

The biggest U.S. city set a Dec. 27 deadline for all 184,000 businesses within its limits to make their employees show proof that they have been vaccinated.

In addition, children 5 to 11 years old must get at least one vaccine dose by Dec. 14 to enter restaurants and to participate in extracurricular school activities, such as sports, band, orchestra and dance, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe,” de Blasio, who leaves office next month, said in a statement.

De Blasio’s successor, Eric Adams, “will evaluate this mandate and other COVID strategies when he is in office and make determinations based on science, efficacy and the advice of health professionals,” said his spokesperson Evan Thies.

The requirements come at a time when new coronavirus infections are accelerating nationwide, especially in northern states, as colder weather has encouraged more mingling and socializing indoors.

Over the last week, the country has averaged more than 120,000 new infections a day, up 64% from the prior week, according to a Reuters tally.

Deaths, which lag infections, have averaged 1,300 a day over the last seven days, up from an average of 800 a day a week ago, according to Reuters data.

The Delta variant still accounts for 99.9% of new COVID cases in the United States, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told ABC News on Sunday.

Omicron, first detected last month in southern Africa, has spread around the globe and shows signs of being more contagious than the Delta variant.

A total of several dozen Omicron cases have been found in 17 out of 50 U.S. states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally.

Louisiana has also reported a probable Omicron case in a crew member on a cruise ship that disembarked in New Orleans over the weekend. At least 17 COVID-19 cases were detected on the ship and more testing is underway, state health officials said.

Several Wall Street banks headquartered in New York, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, already require vaccines for anyone coming into their offices. JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest U.S. bank, has so far allowed unvaccinated employees to come to work in offices if they submit to twice-weekly COVID-19 tests.

Alphabet Inc’s Google and Meta’s Facebook, which also have operations in New York City, also already require all U.S. employees to be vaccinated to enter buildings.

A nationwide vaccine mandate issued earlier this year by President Joe Biden for companies with 100 workers or more has been tied up in litigation. In November, a U.S. appeals court upheld its decision to put on hold the order.

De Blasio, noting that the city has already issued mandates covering several other sets of municipal workers, expressed confidence that his latest order would withstand legal scrutiny.

“We are confident because it’s universal,” he said on MSNBC.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Dilts in New York and Barbara Goldberg in Maplewood, New Jersey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Lisa Shumaker)

New York City, union reach agreement on vaccine mandate

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) -New York City’s public-sector employee union District Council 37 and the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday reached an agreement on a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for over 55,000 city workers.

District Council 37 members who have not provided proof of at least one dose of the vaccine will have the option to resign or take a leave of absence and in both cases, employees will maintain their health benefits, the union said in a statement.

Employees without proof of vaccination who have either not submitted an application for an exemption or who have been denied an exemption may be placed on unpaid leave beginning Nov. 1 through Nov. 30, the union said.

It added that employees will remain eligible for health benefits during this time. District Council 37’s vaccination rate among city employees is now 92%.

The New York City mayor had declared his coronavirus vaccination order for emergency responders a success on Monday, with no disruption to city services, despite a sickout by some firefighters who officials said were protesting the mandate.

The mayor’s Oct. 20 order, which police and firefighter union leaders said would cause staff shortages, led to an 11th-hour rush of inoculations that shrank the ranks of the unvaccinated as officials in the largest U.S. city began enforcing the mandate on Monday morning.

Mandate disputes also have erupted in other cities as political leaders, including President Joe Biden, have sought to stem the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

New York City police and firefighter unions also have challenged the mandate. But the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York said late last month that courts rejected its requests for an emergency order to halt the mandate’s enforcement.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared his coronavirus vaccination order for emergency responders a success, with no disruption to city services, despite a sickout by some firefighters who officials said were protesting the mandate.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies endorsed in Rome a global minimum tax aimed at stopping big business from hiding profits in tax havens, and also agreed to get more COVID vaccines to poorer nations.

* Britain will send 20 million vaccine doses to developing countries by the end of this year in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell other world leaders is a much needed step to speed up the post-pandemic economic recovery.

* President Vladimir Putin said Russia may need the army’s help to build field hospitals for COVID-19 patients as the country battles a surge in infections that has led to a nationwide workplace shutdown.

* The Netherlands will impose new coronavirus restrictions this week in a bid to curb a recent surge in infections.

* Latvia has received shipments of emergency medical equipment from the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary and Sweden as it fights the worst surge in new COVID-19 cases in the European Union amid a low take-up of vaccinations.

AMERICAS

* The Biden administration said a planned rule requiring private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing will be published in the coming days.

* The United States is rolling out Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 this week, but most of the 15 million shots being shipped initially are unlikely to be available before next week.

* U.S. states with the highest adult vaccination rates against COVID-19 are planning a big push to get children inoculated compared to states where hesitancy remains strong, potentially widening the gaps in protection nationwide, public health officials and experts said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Thailand, Australia and Israel eased international border restrictions significantly Monday for the first time in 18 months, offering a broad test of demand for travel worldwide amid the pandemic.

* New Zealand will extend coronavirus curbs for another week in its largest city of Auckland but ease some after that, with the country logging another day of record new infections.

* A declassified U.S. intelligence report saying it was plausible that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a laboratory is unscientific and has no credibility, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

* Indonesia has approved the Sinovac Biotech vaccine for children aged 6-11, its food and drug agency said, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for younger children.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* The United Arab Emirates has approved for emergency use the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for children aged 5-11, the health ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* Novavax Inc expects regulators in India, the Philippines and elsewhere to make a decision on its COVID-19 vaccine within “weeks,” its chief executive told Reuters, after the shot received its first emergency use authorization from Indonesia.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global equity markets rose at the start of a big week for central bank meetings, helped by bets of fiscal stimulus in Japan and undeterred by concerns of future interest rate hikes that have tempered bonds.

(Compiled by Aditya Soni and Federico Maccioni; Edited by Angus MacSwan and Arun Koyyur)

As vaccination mandate looms, New York City prepares for shortage of cops, others

By Peter Szekely

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City officials on Friday were preparing for shortages of firefighters, police officers and other first responders as a showdown looms between the city and its unvaccinated uniformed workforce, who face a 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) deadline to be immunized.

Leaders of unions representing firefighters and police officers have said more than one-third of their members could be sent home on unpaid leave when enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect on Monday.

“If you’re going to take a third of the ambulances off-line, if you’re going to take a third of the engine companies off-line, you’ll without question increase response times and increase the rate of death,” Uniformed Firefighters Association Andrew Ansbro told NY1 TV on Friday.

But Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced the mandate nine days ago, said officials were prepared to manage any staffing gaps with overtime and schedule changes and by enlisting private ambulance companies to cover for the city’s paramedics.

Discussing those moves with reporters on Thursday, the mayor pointed out that the city also faced staffing shortages last year when many first responders were infected with the coronavirus.

The dispute in the United States’ most populous city was the latest chapter in a series of clashes across the country over public and private vaccination mandates.

New York City uniformed workers, including sanitation workers, have staged several protests this week, including one on Thursday at the mayor’s official residence. Many have said consideration should be given for the so-called natural immunity of those who have had COVID, which the firefighters’ union says includes 70% of its members.

City health officials have said that while research has yet to determine the degree of immunity that previous COVID infections yield, it is widely agreed that vaccines increase protection – even for those who have been infected.

De Blasio said only 76% of the uniformed workers facing the mandate deadline have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, as compared with 86% of city workers overall. Within that group, he said the lowest rate was among Fire Department employees at 64%, while nearly three-quarters of police employees have complied.

He stressed, however, that he expects those rates to rise significantly by Monday.

The mayor pointed to earlier mandate deadlines for other New York state and city workers that prompted a rush for last-minute vaccinations by healthcare and education workers as the reality set in that their paychecks were about to stop coming.

“And then suddenly it becomes really clear what they have to do,” de Blasio told reporters on Thursday.

By the time a vaccination requirement for state healthcare workers kicked in on Sept. 27, Governor Kathy Hochul reported that 92% of hospital employees had gotten at least one dose and 85% were fully vaccinated, up from 77% a month earlier.

Thousands of city teachers and other school employees also waited until the final days before an Oct. 1 deadline, de Blasio said, with 96% of the them currently vaccinated.

Police and fire unions have filed lawsuits against the mandate. The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which represents 24,000 police officers, lost a bid earlier this week for a court order to halt the deadline, but has taken its request to a state appeals court where it is still pending.

The courts have generally not been sympathetic to efforts to block vaccine mandates.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor rejected a request by four teachers and teaching assistants to block the city’s Oct. 1 mandate for school workers. And Justice Amy Coney Barrett in August denied a bid by Indiana University students to block that school’s vaccine mandate.

In Chicago, a federal judge was expected to rule on Friday on a request by a group of firefighters and other city workers for a court order to halt vaccine mandates ordered by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, both Democrats.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

New York City to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all public employees

(Reuters) -New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday he was expanding the city’s vaccine mandate to include all public employees, requiring them to show proof of inoculation against COVID-19 or be placed on unpaid leave.

As a sweetener, city employees will receive a $500 bonus for receiving their first shot at a city-run vaccination site by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, the deadline for showing proof of vaccination to a supervisor, de Blasio said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

The policy in the most populous U.S. city comes as numerous other municipalities, school districts and other governments across the nation grapple with masking and vaccination requirements. The number of new COVID-19 cases has steadily declined since a surge caused by the Delta variant of the virus during the summer.

Seventy-one percent of all 160,000 New York City workers have already received at least one vaccine dose, the mayor said.

De Blasio said employees will no longer have the option to be regularly tested instead of getting the vaccine, but added that the city will still grant medical and religious exemptions.

The rate of vaccination in the New York Police Department has lagged the overall rate among city workers.

More than 460 New York City police officers have died of COVID-19. Officials with the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which represents the city’s 50,000 active and retired police officers, were not immediately available for comment.

Workers at the city’s Department of Education and New York City Health and Hospitals agency have been subject to vaccination mandates since September. The vaccine rate in those departments is at least 95%, de Blasio said.

Civilian employees of the city’s Department of Correction (DOC) and uniformed members of the DOC assigned to healthcare settings are also immediately subject to the mandate. But for other uniformed correction officers, the deadline for vaccination is Dec. 1, as the city works to address severe staffing issues at the Rikers Island jail complex, de Blasio said.

(Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Steve Orlofsky)