Unvaccinated People Will Be Barred From This, Starting Dec. 27
This new mandate was implemented after the arrival of the Omicron variant.
State officials, local governments, and businesses across the U.S. have already enacted vaccine mandates for millions of people in the country. Still, only around 60 percent of people eligible to be vaccinated in the U.S. are fully vaccinated right now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And with Delta far from contained and a new variant spreading around the world, that's cause for serious concern. The Omicron variant, which was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 24, has already made its way into the U.S., having been detected in at least 16 states so far, including California, Louisiana, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New York. Now, some government officials have decided to implement even stricter vaccine requirements.
On Dec. 6, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would soon be enacting a new, sweeping vaccine mandate that he described as the first of its kind in the U.S., according to The New York Times. The new order will require all private sector employers in New York City to implement a COVID vaccine mandate for their employees by Dec. 27.
"Omicron is here, and it looks like it's very transmissible … The timing is horrible with the winter months," de Blasio said in a Dec. 6 interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "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."
Public sector workers in New York City were already subject to pre-existing vaccine mandates, but the new measure will apply to around 184,000 more businesses, according to de Blasio.
"The more universal [mandates] are, the more likely employees will say, 'OK, it's time. I'm going to do this.' Because you can't jump from one industry to another or one company to another. It's something that needs to be universal to protect all of us," he said.
The city is also making some amendments to its existing vaccine mandates. Currently, anyone 12 years or older must show proof of at least one vaccine dose to enter indoor dining and entertainment spaces in the city. This mandate, along with the one in place for city workers, has already resulted in nearly 90 percent of adults in New York City having gotten at least one shot of a COVID vaccine, as reported by The New York Times.
But under de Blasio's new order, the requirement for indoor dining and entertainment spaces will be expanded to children ages 5 to 11 on Dec. 14, since they are now eligible for vaccination. And starting Dec. 27, businesses must start requiring that adults show proof of two doses instead of one.
"We've been living with this [virus] now for most of two years. We got to put it behind us and vaccine mandates in my experience are the one thing that really breaks through," de Blasio said. "And we do know this, vaccines every single time, you know, every single time there's a fear of the vaccine won't have an impact on a new variant. Well guess what? Every single time the vaccines have worked. That's a good track record. Let's lean into it even more."