All private companies in New York City (NYC) will be required to force their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the mayor declared Monday, in the most comprehensive vaccine mandate of any state or large city in the United States.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision comes as instances in the United States are on the rise again. The alarming but little-understood omicron variant is spreading across the country, including in the nation's largest city.
“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,” he said.
De Blasio is a Democrat with only a few weeks remaining in office. He said the rule will go into effect on Dec. 27, and in-person workers will need to show confirmation of receiving at least one dosage of the vaccination. They also won't be able to opt-out of the obligation by agreeing to regular COVID-19 testing in its place.
According to a spokesperson for the mayor, the legislation will apply to around 184,000 enterprises in the city of 8.8 million people. It has not included prior vaccine mandates from multinational firms to mom-and-pop shops. The private sector employs 3.7 million people in the metropolis.
In addition, anyone 12 or older who wants to eat indoors at a restaurant, go to the gym or see a concert will need to show documentation of receiving two doses of the vaccination, up from the present minimum of one dosage, according to the mayor. In addition, children aged 5 to 11 will require to present confirmation of at least one vaccination.
“Everybody wants to do the right thing, but the right thing is different for everybody”
The measures, according to De Blasio, intend to prevent an outbreak of the virus during holiday festivities and cold weather. They drive more people indoors, where the illness can spread more easily.
Phil Penta is the owner of Three Guys from Brooklyn, a specialty grocery store. He believes the impending mandate will force him to fire valuable employees who refuse to take the vaccine.
“Everybody wants to do the right thing, but the right thing is different for everybody,” Penta says. He said the vast majority of his roughly three dozen employees have been vaccinated. He added:“I respect the right to say they don't want to take it.”
Vaccination laws vary greatly between states and towns. Some refuse to impose any mandates. Others require vaccinations for government personnel or select sectors that are more vulnerable, such as health care workers.
NYC vaccine mandate
According to data maintained by the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy , no state has announced a comprehensive private-sector mandate like New York City's.
President Joe Biden proposed a national mandate forcing operators of companies with 100 or more employees to either get the vaccine or undergo regular testing. However, federal courts have temporarily halted that plan ahead of the Jan. 4 deadline.
De Blasio stated that he believes his vaccine mandate in NYC would survive in court. Exemptions for religious or medical reasons will be available to employees.
The mayor stated that he will provide further information regarding how the mandate will enforce next week.
Out of the 7 million persons aged 18 and above in NYC, 5.9 million adults received the first dose. This equates to a whopping 84 percent. Approximately 5.8 million New Yorkers of all ages have received their full vaccinations.
The omicron variation has been identified in around a third of the states. Although scientists are unsure whether it is more harmful than prior varieties.
Health officials in the United States have recommended individuals to get their jabs and a booster. Thereby, claiming that the vaccine will still protect the new type.
The delta type still accounts for nearly all infections in the United States. A surge of cases in recent weeks has flooded hospitals across the country, particularly in the Midwest and New England.
Vaccination is the central weapon in this war against COVID
COVID-19 instances in New York City are averaging slightly under 2,000 per day. It is up from roughly 820 per day at the beginning of November.
“Vaccination is the central weapon in this war against COVID. It's the one thing that has worked every single time across the board,” De Blasio said at a virtual news conference.
“A lot of folks to me in the private sector have said to me they believe in vaccination. But they're not quite sure how they can do it themselves,” he continued.“Well, we're going to do it.”
In New York City, vaccinations are already compulsory for hospital and nursing care staff. Also, for city employees such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters. Last week, a vaccine requirement for employees of private and religious institutions was announced.
Other private-sector workers, such as those who work in restaurants, gyms, theaters, and other entertainment venues, were also under an obligation to get vaccines under the mayor's earlier restrictions.
National leader in fight against Covid
De Blasio is going to leave the office at the end of the month. He hinted that he may run for governor of New York next year. He has attempted to present himself as a national leader in the fight against COVID-19. His other vaccine regulations have largely survived in court. Also, he has praised the strategy with increasing vaccination rates among the uninitiated.
In NYC, the new vaccine mandate goes into effect just days before de Blasio leaves office. Democrat Eric Adams will replace him. Evan Thies, a spokesman for Adams, said in a statement that the mayor-elect“will evaluate this mandate and other COVID strategies when he is in office and make determinations based on science, efficacy, and the advice of health professionals.”
The Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, which represents 30,000 small and large firms, said it welcomes the tougher regulations.
Other industry groups, on the other hand, claimed the idea would add to the pressure on businesses that are still trying to recover from the pandemic and locate adequate workers.
According to Kathryn Wylde, president, and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, the requirement is unclear as to who will police it and whether it is even lawful.
“It is hard to imagine that the mayor can do what the president is being challenged to accomplish,” Wylde said.
Coronavirus COVID Vaccine New York City vaccine mandate
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