Mayor Invoice de Blasio introduced a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for all personal employers in New York Metropolis on Monday morning to fight the unfold of the Omicron variant.
Mr. de Blasio mentioned the aggressive measure, which takes impact Dec. 27 and which he described as the primary of its type within the nation, was wanted as a “pre-emptive strike” to stall one other wave of coronavirus instances and assist scale back transmission in the course of the winter months and vacation gatherings.
“Omicron is right here, and it appears to be like prefer it’s very transmissible,” he mentioned in an interview on MSNBC. “The timing is horrible with the winter months.”
New York Metropolis has already put vaccine mandates in place for metropolis employees and for indoor eating, leisure and gymnasiums. Almost 90 p.c of adults within the metropolis now have at the least one dose of the vaccine.
However Mr. de Blasio mentioned the town should go additional to fight one other wave of the virus in New York Metropolis, as soon as the middle of the pandemic. Some personal employers have required workers to get vaccinated, however many others haven’t. Mr. de Blasio mentioned the brand new measure would apply to about 184,000 companies.
The mayor additionally introduced that the foundations for eating and leisure would apply to youngsters ages 5 to 11, who will need to have one dose to enter eating places and theaters beginning on Dec. 14, and that the requirement for adults would enhance from one dose of a vaccine to 2 beginning on Dec. 27, besides for many who initially acquired the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Mr. de Blasio and Gov. Kathy Hochul held a information convention final Thursday to announce New York State’s first five cases of the Omicron variant, and several other extra have been introduced in New York Metropolis since then. The variety of coronavirus instances within the metropolis has elevated quickly in latest weeks; day by day case counts have elevated greater than 75 p.c since Nov. 1.
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat with lower than a month left in workplace, mentioned he was assured the brand new mandate would survive any authorized challenges and he famous that previous metropolis mandates had been upheld.
“They’ve received in court docket — state court docket, federal court docket — each single time,” the mayor mentioned on MSNBC. “And it’s as a result of they’re common and constant.”
Eric Adams, the mayor-elect who takes workplace on Jan. 1, is on trip in Ghana this week. His spokesman, Evan Thies, mentioned in a press release that Mr. Adams would consider the measure as soon as he’s mayor.
“The mayor-elect will consider this mandate and different Covid methods when he’s in workplace and make determinations based mostly on science, efficacy and the recommendation of well being professionals,” he mentioned.
The Biden administration tried to set a federal mandate that each one massive employers should require employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing beginning in January, however that measure is stalled in court.
The Occupational Security and Well being Administration, or OSHA, issued an “emergency” rule earlier this month requiring vaccinations for workers of corporations with at the least 100 employees, though it exempts those that work from home or solely outside.
Kathryn Wylde, the president of a outstanding enterprise group, the Partnership for New York Metropolis, mentioned she was stunned by the announcement by Mr. de Blasio.
“We have been blindsided,” she mentioned. “There’s no forewarning, no dialogue, no concept about whether or not it’s authorized or who he expects to implement it.”
Roughly half of Manhattan workplace employers have enacted vaccine mandates, she mentioned, although some insurance policies embody testing choices and medical and non secular exemptions.