As the Omicron variant surges, vaccinated city employees say they’re not being notified when someone in their office tests positive for COVID-19 — and they’re pleading with Mayor Bill de Blasio to let them work remotely.
Under guidance distributed by the city, only unvaccinated employees and those more than two weeks away from getting a second shot are notified of positive cases in their office.
Some employees who spoke with THE CITY said they found out about positive cases through word of mouth — or, as one Administration for Children’s Services employee said, when they noticed offices of colleagues out for over a week being cleaned without explanation.
“City workers have already sacrificed too much. How many positive case records must we surpass before City Hall decides to protect them?” Henry Garrido, the executive director of DC 37, New York’s largest municipal employee union, said Thursday — calling a telework option “long overdue.”
“Our members have proven they can do their jobs from home,” he added. “They cannot continue to be used as pawns in a political game.”
Remote work became the norm for most city office workers after COVID first invaded in March 2020. But late this summer, after vaccines became widely available, de Blasio ordered staff back to work in person full time.
A spokeswoman for the mayor, Danielle Filson, pointed to the city’s high vaccination rates and other safety measures as part of the city’s protection for workers.