Updated: October 12, 2021 01:52 PM
Created: October 12, 2021 10:11 AM
UTICA, N.Y. (AP) - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemptions from a statewide vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.
Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.
Hurd's preliminary injunction Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions.
Hurd wrote that the health care workers challenging suing the state were likely to succeed on the merits of their constitutional claim.
Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration began requiring workers at hospitals and nursing homes to be vaccinated on Sept. 27 and more recently expanded the requirement to include workers at assisted living homes, hospice care, treatment centers and home health aides.
The court ruling is in. Judge David Hurd orders the religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine is in effect permanently. When I called one health care worker who had the temporary exemption she said "Thank you Jesus!" @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/Wi1sIhuqW1— Berkeley Brean (@whec_bbrean) October 12, 2021
Governor Hochul issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying "My responsibilitiy as Governor is to protect the people of this state, and requiring health care workers to get vaccinated accomplishes that. I stand behind this mandate, and I will fight this decision in court to keep New Yorkers safe."
This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates from News10NBC.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)