New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has made the decision to require a vaccination mandate for all private-sector workers in the metropolis, citing the dangers of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as the reason.
In his daily press conference on Monday morning (December 6th) from City Hall, Mayor de Blasio announced the mandate, which requires private companies to require that their employees who work with other employees in a physical workspace get vaccinated. The mandate is expected to go into effect on December 27th. One key element of the new mandate, which applies to 184,000 businesses in New York City, removes the option of those employees who are currently unvaccinated to get tested weekly. They have to have at least one dose by the 27th.“We’ve got omicron as a new factor, we’ve got the colder weather, which is really going to create additional challenges with the delta variant, we’ve got holiday gatherings,” he said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program prior to the briefing. “We in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of Covid and the dangers it’s causing to all of us.”
Mayor de Blasio also announced that rules for being vaccinated indoors for dining and entertainment would be extended to cover children ranging in age from 5 to 11. They are required to have one dose of the vaccine to enter theaters and restaurants beginning on December 14th, due to case rates being highest for that age group. For adults, they will now be required to have both doses of the vaccine to partake in indoor dining and entertainment beginning December 27th. More detailed guidelines on implementation and guidelines will be released by the city’s health department on December 15th.
When asked if there were concerns about legal challenges as the Biden administration’s own vaccine mandate for federal employees was halted last month, the city corporation counsel Georgia Pestriana said: “The commissioner of health has the authority to issue a mandate like this to protect the public health and his authority to do that has been upheld time and again. The trouble that the Biden ministration has run into in court doesn’t really apply here.” Mayor-Elect Eric Adams, currently in Ghana on vacation, was appraised of the move.