Morning News Brief

Written by on September 28, 2021

Across New York State roughly 72 thousand hospital workers and 16 thousand Nursing Home Employees were let go or placed on unpaid leave yesterday as the healthcare vaccine mandate went into effect.  As of Monday, the ECMC put roughly 5% of its hospital workforce on unpaid leave, and 20% of its nursing home staff. Catholic Health and U of R Medical Centers said they would postpone elective surgeries as well ahead of layoffs.  Several lawsuits are in the works to attempt to lift the mandate.  One was successful in putting a temporary hold in place for medical and religious exemptions which were left out of the mandate.  Another successfully blocked a similar mandate for teachers and school staff.

Governor Hochul announced on Monday that people who are considered at risk will be able to get a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine, considered a booster, to maximize their protection against COVID 19.  The Department of Health says that those 65 and older, residents in long-term care settings, and those between 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID exposure should receive the booster.  Also it has to be at least 6 months since you had the last shot of the regular Pfizer COVID vaccination.  Those who got the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines are not eligible at this time.  Hochul also announced 65 million dollars to be spent in setting up booster shot infrastructure.

The western NY minimum wage is set to increase by the end of the year by 70 cents.  It was 12.50 and will rise to 13.20.  Even with it officially rising, many businesses were already paying employees above that.  McDonalds on West Main in Batavia is advertising positions starting at 16 dollars an hour.  Even with higher wages many businesses are finding it difficult to get prospective employees to apply.  Leading to things like the bussing shortage and shortages of goods in stores.

The City of Batavia is weighing the installation of a new playground at Austin Park.  This wouldn’t just be a regular playground though, City Manager Rachel Tabelski said at the City Council Meeting Monday night that it would be an “inclusive destination” playground.  The inclusive part of the wording is meant to apply to making the playground so it can be used by children who are differently abled.  Tabelski said she wants the playground to have a “wow” factor that will bring people to visit from around the region and “bolster activity in the downtown corridor.”  She says the playground would be paid for by roughly 400 thousand dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.  Batavia received almost 1 and a half million dollars.

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