Unfortunately, COVID-19 is evolving and the recommendations from the experts are as well. We got vaccinated, the masks came off, and life was going back to normal. Now there's a curveball in the form of the Delta variant. Masks on, vaccinated or not. You could be infected, asymptomatic and pass it on, even to children. The unvaccinated, and particularly younger Americans, are the most vulnerable and responsible for the increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths, which are preventable with the vaccine. This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Because of this negative turn of events, the Joint Industry Board Trustees have decided to cancel the in-person Critical Thinking program at the LI Educational Center for the next couple of weeks until we get a clearer picture of what’s happening. The Camp Integrity program will continue, as we have 3 weeks left and have not had any issues this summer.
City and NYS employees will be required to be vaccinated or test negative weekly. Some of our customers are insisting our contractors provide employees that are fully vaccinated in order to work on their projects, which they have a right to do. They have the right and the responsibility to protect their own employees and the worksite. If you are unemployed, the Employment Department will inquire as to whether you are vaccinated or not, and you will be passed over on the list if the job call is for a location where the customer requires vaccinations. Not all customers are doing this, but it is becoming more common, so the JIB is treating the vaccine like a skill credential like “confined space” or “scaffold certification.” Out of 47 calls made from the Employment Department last week, only 30 members said that they were vaccinated, and the rest were not. Based on that initial small sample size, that tells me that there is a 36% chance that the person you're working right next to isn’t vaccinated either. I’d like to know.
As far as working and using public transportation, you really need to get back to protecting yourself from variants. Wear your mask and social distance as much as you can. We have members who have been fully vaccinated and have tested positive. This is a highly contagious virus, and like electricity you can’t see it, smell it, hear it, or feel it until you get hit with it. You should treat this virus like you would treat electricity, assume everybody and everything is “live.” Protect yourselves and your families. This is no joke and there is little room for mistakes.