The NYPD is enforcing a stricter mask policy with all cops now required to wear the face coverings while on duty regardless on their vaccination status.
The department was informed of the order on Sunday night amid the surge in COVID cases and the presence of the new Omicron variant that has been sweeping the country.
Officers are being enforced to don their face masks in public settings and interacting with civilians while they are on duty.
‘All members of the service, regardless of vaccination status, who are able to medically tolerate a face covering, are required to wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while they are in a shared indoor workspace, except when eating or drinking,’ the email read.
Members of the department were originally forced to wear masks in compliance with the mandate that was previously put in place last year when the pandemic had began.
The NYPD is enforcing a stricter masking policy for police officers amid the surge of COVID cases as the new Omicron variant sweeps across the country
The mandate had later been repealed in an attempt to get NYPD officers to receive the vaccine.
Mayor Bill De Blasio previously faced scrutiny by the department and other essential city workers as he required them to receive the vaccine or face termination from their positions by November 1.
A police source has already expressed disdain for the new policy as they claim One Police Plaza, or the NYPD Headquarters, will not follow the new imposed mandate.
Members of the department must wear the masks in public settings, even if vaccinated, while on duty
The mandate had previously been repealed for officers in an attempt to get them vaccinated
The decision for the mandate comes after NYC has been battered with the effects of the new variant and rising COVID cases amid one of the city’s busiest seasons.
Venues such as bars and restaurants have already been forced to close their doors due to staffing shortages and the lack of customers.
Performances of Broadway shows have also been closed and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular’s Rockettes dance troupe recently announced the cancellation of the rest of the season.
Records are being broken daily in the state – the 21,908 new cases reported on Saturday was a slight increase over the 21,027 cases reported the day before, and both were daily records.
On Sunday, the record was once again broken, with 22,478 positive cases in New York state.
The previous record was January 14, 2021, when 19,942 tested positive in the state.
The test positivity rate was 7.53 per cent – up from about 2.6 per cent on September 22.
Officials said that 3,909 people were hospitalized on Friday, a net increase of 70 patients.
On Friday, the mayor of New York City joined Governor Kathy Hochul in rejecting any plans for another lockdown over the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Bill de Blasio, like Hochul, insisted on Friday that vaccination and precaution is the best way to combat the city’s COVID-19 surge.
‘No, no, no,’ de Blasio told WNYC on Friday when asked about possible shutdowns of public schools and other activities.
‘Don’t fight yesterday’s war,’ he added.
‘This is not March of 2020. We’re one of the most highly vaccinated places in the United States of America.
‘The more we vaccinate, the more we can get through this.’
Another lockdown ‘would really destroy, in so many ways, people’s livelihoods and it would, I think, after everything people have been through — it would be traumatizing.’
On Sunday, de Blasio attended a service at the First Baptist Church in the Crown Heights district of Brooklyn.
He warned the congregation that tough times are coming, but told them: ‘Your city is ready.’
Venues such as Broadway theatres have been forced to shut down to a surge in cases among cast and audience members
NYC residents have lined down city streets to receive COVID tests amid the surge in cases
People wait in line outside of a City MD for COVID testing
De Blasio, who leaves office on December 31, said: ‘It’s obvious that we are still in the grips of this pandemic. But I want you to hear the most important things I can tell you today. Your city is ready. Your city is ready.’
He added: ‘This next phase will be a challenge.
‘And it is a challenge we will overcome, because we have been through – and I’m sorry to say this, and we all felt it, we all lived it – we have been through much, much worse.
‘And somehow, when we were the epicenter in this country, there was a lot of pain, there was a lot of loss in this congregation and in every congregation.
‘But people fought back in this city, brilliantly – brilliantly. And that’s something everyone should be proud of. People fought back.
‘And I’m going to tell you, as we brace for this next challenge, this is different.
‘What we’re going to experience in this month and next month in New York City is very, very different than what we experienced in that horrible spring of 2020.
‘But what we have now is a profound answer we didn’t have then, but we’ve got to use answer. And it’s vaccination.’
He pointed out that 90 per cent of the city have had at least one dose, and urged anyone still hesitant to get their jab.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he would not use his authority to put New York City into another lockdown over higher coronavirus cases in recent weeks
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, on Friday said she did not want to return to lockdowns of 2020
Hochul said that a return to the lockdowns of spring 2020 and winter 2020-21 were not the answer this time, with the vaccine in place and hospitalizations stable.
‘This spreads quickly, but it’s not as dangerous,’ she said of Omicron.
‘So while my number one goal is to protect the health of New Yorkers, I also want to protect the health of the economy.’
Hochul said she wanted people to continue ‘their regular activities’ and encouraged tourism.
‘I don’t want this economy to shut down again. It’s just so painful,’ she said. ‘I don’t want kids to stop going to school.’
She added: ‘I don’t want to have this artificial suppression based on fear, when we are in a far better place than we were so many months ago with the tools we need, the weapon we need – and that is the booster shot, in particular.
‘We can’t – and we won’t – go back to where we were 21 months ago.
‘We have the tools to fight this virus. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. If you’re fully vaccinated, get your booster as soon as you can.’
She said there was ‘very sadly’ a resistance among 8-10 per cent of New Yorkers.
‘The surge is here, it’s going to get worse, we know it’s going to get worse – especially after Christmas.
‘We saw a 70 per cent increase in cases from Thanksgiving to two weeks later. And the same thing will happen.
‘But it doesn’t have to be this way. This thing is so preventable.’
New York state has a significantly higher level of vaccination than the national average.
In her state, 93.9 percent of adults have had at least one shot, and 81.6 percent of all residents. Nationwide, the total falls to 77.1 percent of all people aged above five receiving at least one.
Yet the high level of vaccinations, and Hochul’s wish to keep the city and state economically vibrant, has not stopped serious disruptions to the state.
Since the start of December, both U.S. COVID cases and deaths have risen about 50 percent and the number of hospitalized COVID patients climbed 26 percent, according to a Reuters tally.
The presence of the new Omicron variant, which is believed to be responsible for the most recent surge, has so far been identified in 830 cases across the country.
Kentucky, Arkansas, Maine, Kansas and Wyoming confirmed new Omicron cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 45 states.
The surge in recent cases is a 40 percent increase from November’s numbers, with 118,717 cases being reported each day.
Testing has now confirmed the presence of Omicron in every US state except for Oklahoma, Montana, North and South Dakota, Indiana, and Vermont, though the eventual arrival of the highly transmissible variant in every state seems assured.
Highly vaccinated states in the Northeast seem to be struggling the most at the moment as cold weather, waning immunity and the new variant all contribute to a new case surge.
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island also recorded record high daily cases this week.
In the past month, 60,000 patients have been newly treated in hospitals across the country with doctors and officials urging the United States’ unvaccinated population – 39% of Americans – to receive the shot in order to create space for non-COVID patients.
This increase has spiked hospitalization rates in various Midwestern states, as well as California, and there are 67,306 patients currently treated nationally.
On average, 1,290 people have died from the virus daily during the past week; the virus has killed more than 800,000 Americans since the pandemic began.
More than 50.7 million others have contracted the virus.