Some Long Islanders feel vindicated as mandated COVID-19 vaccines for city workers nears an end
Some Long Islanders are feeling vindication as the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for city workers will be optional come Friday.
Former Bronx physical education teacher Tim Wiermann, of Port Jefferson Station, is still upset about losing his job over his decision to leave his city teaching position in 2021 after choosing not to get vaccinated.
"It was a really difficult decision, but it's a decision to this day I don't regret making one bit," says Tom Wiermann.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams reversed former Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to require all municipal employees to be vaccinated. The requirement led to more than 1,700 people leaving their jobs.
Long Island attorney James Mermigis filed more than 130 lawsuits against the city for employees wanting religious waivers for the vaccine mandate.
"We do feel a sense of accomplishment because we finally defeated this tyrannical mandate as far as I am concerned," Mermigis says.
The mayor said the decision to remove the mandate was because 96% of city workers and over 80% of New Yorkers did get vaccinated.
The city health commissioner said in a statement, "It's clear these mandates saved lives and were absolutely necessary to meet the moment."
Mermigis says he is not giving up on the suits for his clients.
"We should go forward and get decisions on these lawsuits to get them a permanent exemption," Mermigis says. "Therefore, if he decides to reinstate the mandate at some point, my clients will have that exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine."
The city says workers who refused to get vaccinated and lost their jobs can reapply for positions with the city.
Visitors to school in the city will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination.