A federal judge in New York on Tuesday approved a temporary restraining order against the state’s politicians and public health bureaucrats who eliminated religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Liberty Counsel reported.
Northern New York York District Judge David Hurd said in his ruling that New York has an obligation under federal law to provide alternatives for health care employees who have religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hurd’s ruling also prevents the Health Department from “taking any action, disciplinary or otherwise, against the licensure, certification, residency, admitting privileges or other professional status or qualification of any of the plaintiffs on account of their seeking or having obtained a religious exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Aug. 26 approved the “Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy” that requires hospital employees to to receive a COVID-19 shot by Sept. 27 and all other health care workers to be vaccinated by Oct. 7.
The policy initially allowed for “limited exceptions for workers with religious or medical reasons.”
Employees who do not receive a COVID-19 shot or an exemption by the specified dates would have been fired.
After Hochul signed the mandate, however, New York’s Public Health and Health Planning Council removed religious exemptions and accomodations from the policy.
The state’s new policy only allowed medical exemptions that were ordered by a doctor.
Several doctors, nurses, therapists and technologists sued Hochul, Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker, and Attorney General Letitia James once the state removed religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate.
“Governor Hochul and New York health care facilities cannot override federal law and force health care workers to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by forcing them to inject an experimental substance,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver.