Dec 7, 2021 -- Private sector workers in New York City will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
This “first-in-nation” program that will apply to about 184,000 businesses the mayor said in a news release.
“From workplace mandates, to $100 incentives, to mobile and at-home vaccination offerings, no place in the nation has done more to end the COVID era,” the release said. “And if you have not taken this step yet: there’s no better day than today to stand up for your city.”
Specifics on enforcement were not given, but the news release said private sector employers will receive details Dec. 15 on how the rule will be enacted. A vaccine program for municipal employees has resulted in a 94% vaccination rate for the city government workforce, de Blasio said.
Private sector workers will need to have at least one dose of vaccine by Dec. 27. They won’t be able to opt out of vaccinations, as a proposed federal mandate for private sector employees would allow, The New York Times reported.
The leader of a prominent business group said de Blasio’s announcement came as a complete surprise.
“We were blindsided,” Kathryn Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City, told The Times. “There’s no forewarning, no discussion, no idea about whether it’s legal or who he expects to enforce it.”
Speaking Monday morning on MSNBC, de Blasio explained why he took this action less than a month before he leaves office.
“We’ve got Omicron as a new factor,” he said. “We’ve got the colder weather which is going to really create additional challenges with the Delta variant, we’ve got holiday gatherings. 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.”
Other new requirements were announced.
Starting Dec. 14, children 5-11 must show they’ve gotten one dose of vaccine to take part in “high-risk extracurricular activities,” including sports, band, orchestra, and dance.
Starting Dec. 14, Children 5-11 will have to show proof they’ve received at least one dose of vaccine to enter indoor dining, fitness, entertainment, and performance venues.
Starting Dec. 27, all New Yorkers 12 and up must show they’ve received two doses of vaccine to enter those venues, unless they’ve gotten the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.