3D illustration of "MANDATE" title on legal document

In response to the COVID-19 Delta variant making waves across the country and causing spikes in positive case rates, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced the expansion of mask and vaccine mandates for city employees, with the first adjustments beginning on Aug. 2, NBC 4 New York reports. These mandates will likely apply to many facility cleaning staffs and could serve as a template for other cities in the near future.

The Aug. 2 mandate involves all unvaccinated workers being required to wear masks at work, a group representing approximately. For employees working in congregate settings (roughly 45,000 people), the next step will be weekly tests beginning the week of Aug. 16 if vaccine doses haven’t been received. For the remainder of employees, that weekly test deadline is Sep. 13.

The timing of the mandate is another key factor in the decision, de Blasio explains.

"This is about our recovery. This is about keeping people safe, making sure our families get through COVID okay," says de Blasio. "September is the pivot point of the recovery, September is when many employers are bringing back a lot of their employees. It's when schools start full-strength, it's when people come back from summer."

To simplify the process, the city will be releasing a free app available in app stores capable of logging COVID test results for up to one week — with the data only being sent to the particular individual. 

Over the week of July 19-25, positive case rates have almost doubled, with the highly contagious Delta variant being present in almost 60 percent of those cases.

New York City isn’t the only major area being afflicted by the Delta variant. Earlier this month, L.A. County reinstated mask mandates indoors in response to a spike in cases. Read more the specifics on the Delta variant here