A mandate that required New York state employees to either be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19 was pushed back from Sept. 7 to Oct. 12.

Employees at state agencies also now do not have to return to work in-person until the Oct. 12 date as well, according to a memo from the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations.

This memo comes as certain agencies were considering legal action against the state over this vaccine and testing mandate for unvaccinated individuals, saying that the governor’s office did not consult with unions before making this decision.

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the end of July created the mandate that all state workers by Labor Day would have to either be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, in order to push employers around the state to bring their workers back to their offices.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, however, quietly pushed this deadline back and instead brought back universal mask rules to state buildings in counties with high COVID-19 transmission rates.  

In a statement, a spokesperson for Gov. Hochul, Hazel Crampton-Hays said:

“Governor Hochul is working closely with the Department of Health to control the spread of the Delta variant and protect New Yorkers. We are constantly monitoring the data and evaluating policies to ensure we are prioritizing health and safety while continuing to deliver the services that New Yorkers need. We updated guidance for state agencies to provide employees and the public with the information and resources to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and ensure government workplaces have flexibility as our hardworking state employees continue to safely return to in-person work.”