New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently issued a mandate for all employees of the Big Apple’s private sector to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This was in response to the new threat from the omicron variant.
De Blasio’s term will expire in just a few weeks and was announced Monday morning
De Blasio stated that we have omicron, which is a new factor. We’ve also got a colder climate, which will really create additional challenges for the delta variant. We’ve also got holiday gatherings.” De Blasio stated that NYC has decided to strike a preemptive strike in an effort to do something bold to stop COVID’s further growth.
De Blasio called the move a “first-in-the-nation measure” that will cover all private-sector employers within New York City. The new mandate will be in effect from the end of December and will affect approximately 184,000 businesses.
De Blasio stated that there will be other measures to help us get ahead of omicron, and other challenges we face right now due to COVID.
De Blasio’s office also said it is broadening its program requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment–expanding the measure to include 5- to 11-year-olds. According to De Blasio’s office, approximately 20% of this age group are vaccinated in New York City.
Children aged 5-11 years old will need to present proof of one vaccine dose. Starting Dec. 14, New Yorkers 12 years and older will need to produce proof of two vaccine doses. De Blasio’s press secretary tweeted: “Get that shot by 12:00 for our youngest New Yorkers.”
De Blasio also stated that children aged 5-11 years old will need to be vaccinated in order to take part in high-risk extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, orchestra, and dance. The Dec. 14 deadline for the first vaccine dose will be met.
De Blasio’s decision comes as the Biden administration is facing a string of legal losses due to its COVID-19 mandates. Several federal judges across the country have stopped the implementation of the rules, claiming that the executive branch has overreacted. The Justice Department will “vigorously defend” the mandates in court.
Last month, the Biden administration unveiled the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 vaccination rule. This required employers with over 100 employees to ensure that all employees are fully vaccinated. Businesses that do not comply will be subject to fines up to $14,000 per violation and the possibility of multiple citations.
OSHA lifted enforcement of the rule after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the mandate. In the meantime, Eric Adams, New York City’s Mayor-elect, will take over de Blasio’s position on January 1.
De Blasio’s Office reported that New York City had administered more than 12.5 million vaccine doses. Nearly 6.5 Million New Yorkers, including 89% of adults, have had at least one dose. Over 125,000 children between 5 and 11 years old have received at least one dose.