Fate of Orange County nursing home in the hands of federal judge

The owner of the New Windsor Country Inn says some of its residents will have to move out if the judge decides religious exemptions are not allowed under the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

News 12 Staff

Oct 8, 2021, 10:25 AM

Updated 1,014 days ago

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The fate of an Orange County nursing home is in the hands of a federal judge.
The owner of the New Windsor Country Inn says some of its residents will have to move out if the judge decides religious exemptions are not allowed under the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The judge will decide on Tuesday whether religious exemptions will be allowed for health care workers.
Because staff at hospitals and care facilities like the New Windsor Country Inn are taking care of the most vulnerable people, when the state issued the mandate, no religious exemptions were allowed.
However, a New York judge put a pause on that until Oct. 12 -- but it's likely the state will win this case.
The argument that the mandate is a violation of people's religious freedoms hasn't worked in court so far.
Most recently, a judge denied the request for New York City employees.
It could pose a major problem for Paul Lockwood, the owner of the Country Inn. He tells News 12 he'll have no choice but to move some residents to other facilities, because they won't have enough staff to take care of them.
As of now, the state Health Department says 36% of the Country Inn staff are fully vaccinated. Another 9% got their first shot over the last two days.
"We have already spoken to other facilities who have available beds, and they would agree to take a number of our residents and house them temporarily until such a time we could restaff with people who are vaccinated," says Lockwood.
Lockwood says he's been trying to find new employees who are vaccinated, but with no luck.
He says some of the temporary agencies laughed at his request because there's just no one available.


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