New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is forcing COVID-19 restrictions for 184,000 private businesses and for children aged five to 11 in what he says is a ‘pre-emptive strike’ over the Omicron variant.
The vaccine mandate – announced only four days before most private-sector employees knock off for the holidays – will begin December 27, though the New York mayor says more information will be available on the initiative on December 15.
De Blasio said Monday during a press conference that the mandate will apply to in-person employment, and there will be no testing opt-out option.
Indoor activity vaccine requirements for children aged five to 11 will go into effect at that time as well. Starting December 14, children wanting to take part in band, sports, orchestra, or dance extra-curricular activities at school will have to receive at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Some local business leaders have said they are ‘blindsided’ by the new requirements.
‘Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,’ he said in an interview on MSNBC. ‘The timing is horrible with the winter months.’
At least 90% of New Yorkers have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday.
It’s unclear how De Blasio plans to enforce the mandate, or whether NYC Mayor-Elect Eric Adams – who is set to take office in January – will keep the rule in place.
Here’s what Mayor de Blasio’s new vaccine mandate will mean for New Yorkers
- All private employers will have to subject in-person employees to a vaccine mandate
- There is no testing opt-out included
- Mandate will apply to an estimated 184,000 businesses in New York
- More information on the requirement will be revealed on December 15
- Children aged five an older will require proof of vaccination to dine indoors, or enter fitness and entertainment venues
- Full vaccine sequence is required to meet mandate, either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of J&J vaccine
- Mandate will go into effect on December 27
- School children aged five and older who want to take part in sports, dance, band or orchestra activities will also have to receive at least one vaccine shot by December 14