The Manhattan-bound side of the Brooklyn Bridge was shut down on Monday as city workers marched in protest of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered an estimated 160,000 city workers to receive at least one shot of the vaccine by Oct. 29 or face unpaid leave. As the deadline nears, workers took to the streets for the remaining city employees who have not been vaccinated.
The demonstration, which is expected to end in front of City Hall, led to the shutdown of Brooklyn Bridge, and it is unclear when it will reopen. The 84th Precinct sent out a tweet advising drivers to take a different route.
“ADVISORY: Due to protest activity in the area of #DownTownBrooklyn Manhattan-bound #BrooklynBridge will be closed to vehicular traffic from now till further notice,” the message read.
During the protest, participants revealed they were not anti-vaxxers, instead, they were against the mandates forcing people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is not ‘following the science,’ this is like totalitarianism,” former FDNY Lt. James Finnegan told CBS New York.
It’s estimated that 60% of firefighters and EMS workers are vaccinated, 51% of correction officers, 71% of police officers, and 60% of sanitation workers.
Despite the thousands of workers that could be placed on leave if they remain unvaccinated, de Blasio claims a contingency plan is in place to keep things running without any disruptions.
“Every commissioner and their team has talked through different options. Obviously, use of overtime is an example,” de Blasio said.
“I talked to all of the relevant commissioners in the lead-up, especially the most crucial operational agencies, and every one of them said they were confident this is the right thing to do.”
The Police Benevolent Association, which is the largest cop union in the city, filed a lawsuit on Monday in an attempt to block the vaccine mandate for city workers to take effect.
The leaders of the association also plan to file a lawsuit to stop the mandate from being imposed amid the legal proceedings.
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