The New York Governor Kathy Hochul stated this week that she does not believe health care workers should be allowed to justify avoiding the vaccine through religious exemptions.
After Andrew Cuomo was removed from office due to several allegations of sexual misconduct, he was replaced by Kathy Hochul. The newly elected governor had been speaking on a recent court decision involving religious exemptions. A federal judge in Utica, NY, had issued a temporary restraining order against the New York vaccine mandate, which stopped any attempts to seek religious exemptions. "The vaccine mandate is suspended in operation to the extent that the [state Department of Health]," writes Judge David Hurd of the Northern District of New York. "is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination or that they revoke any exemptions employers already granted before the vaccine mandate [was] issued,"
When asked why she enforced the vaccine without religious exemptions, Hochul noted the number of religious groups encouraging vaccinations. "I'm not aware of a sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion, in fact, they are encouraging the opposite," Hochul said. "Everybody from the Pope on down is encouraging people to get vaccinated."
NY Gov Hochul on religious exemptions from COVID vaccinations for healthcare workers: "I'm not aware of a sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion, in fact they are encouraging the opposite...so people will say what they choose." pic.twitter.com/7XJjkIr3UY— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) September 16, 2021
Hochul emphasized that her administration will “defend the right of New York to ensure that anyone in a health care facility can meet a patient and that patient does not have to worry, when they go in there for health care, that they’re gonna contract a virus from one of the people that are supposed to protect their health.”
The state recently imposed one of the stricter state mandates, requiring anyone two years or older to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.