New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious mandate to require nearly all private sector companies to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace came into effect amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections.
Workers at around 184,000 companies had to prove they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, just days before de Blasio left office.
“Today, on a historic day for New York City, we are implementing the nation’s strongest vaccine mandate,” de Blasio boasted in an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, as he did so. allusion to a possible candidacy for the post of governor.
“All private sector employers today. This is what we have to do everywhere. Every governor, every CEO in the United States should have mandates on vaccines everywhere – 2022 must be the year we fix COVID, ”he continued
“Today, on a historic day for New York City, we are implementing the country’s strongest vaccine mandate,” de Blasio boasted in an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
A sign is seen at a restaurant on New York’s Upper West Side in August. Vaccines are already mandatory in restaurants, and now office workers must have vaccines to go to work
The general order angered de Blasio’s successor, elected mayor Eric Adams, who called the imposition of the rule at the 11th hour a “big thank you” to his new government.
The new rules raise concerns about further shortages of workers, even as many businesses in the city are closing due to outbreaks or staff exposures.
Businesses that don’t comply could face fines starting from $ 1,000 under the order, but de Blasio said imposing penalties would be a last resort.
The radical order angered de Blasio’s successor, elected mayor Eric Adams, who took office on January 1 and called the imposition of the rule at the 11th hour a “big thank you” to his new government.
“I think the outgoing mayor is announcing something like that knowing that the implementation and enforcement would be entirely the responsibility of the next mayor is a real big effect for you,” a spokesperson for Adams told the New York Post earlier this month.
Under the new rules, employers must check and keep a record of each worker’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Workers who have only received one injection will need to get a second within 45 days.
Businesses must display a sign stating that they are complying with the “in a conspicuous place” rule, under the city’s mandate.
It comes as New York City is once again the epicenter of the infection, with 26,737 new cases of COVID reported statewide on Monday.
There have also been 5,526 current hospitalizations statewide, the highest number since February but still well below the peak of more than 7,000 last spring.
Nonetheless, de Blasio is adamant that his New Years celebration in Times Square will continue, although he has reduced the capacity of the party marking the last night of his eight-year reign.
This year, the city will only allow about a third of the usual number of revelers inside the dozens of fenced-in viewing areas set up in the plaza, allowing for greater social distancing.
Partygoers will need to show proof of full vaccination and wear masks.
“Normally living around 58,000 people in the observation areas, this year’s celebration will welcome around 15,000 people,” de Blasio said in a statement.
The 2022 sign that will be lit atop a building on New Years Eve is displayed in Times Square on Monday. De Blasio is adamant his celebration in Times Square will continue
In addition, admission to the viewing areas will begin around 3 p.m., later than in previous years.
Last year, when the COVID-19 vaccines were in the early stages of deployment, the celebration was only open to a handful of guests, including essential workers and their families.
De Blasio is expected to announce a candidacy for governor of New York, challenging outgoing Democrat Kathy Hochul in next year’s election.
In his MSNBC interview on Monday, de Blasio played coy, saying he would announce his plans “really, really soon”.
“I have one week left and I will focus on fighting COVID,” he said. “And I’m happy to say, by the way, that we did a callback call, and it has been heard and felt by New Yorkers since I announced it,” he added. “180,000 more New Yorkers have received a recall since Tuesday. Almost 2 million in total.