PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Just days after announcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all private and religious schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping new mandate covering private businesses in New York City.
The mandate, which goes into effect on Dec. 27, means that businesses must require employees to show proof of vaccination to enter the workplace. New York would become the first city in the nation to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on private businesses.
The mandate will affect approximately 184,000 private businesses in the city.
President Biden has issued similar mandates but has faced legal roadblocks. His vaccine mandates for private businesses, health care workers, and federal contractors have been tied up in courts, and Republicans in the Senate have discussed ways to block the funding of any mandates.
Mayor de Blasio, who announced the mandate on Monday, Dec. 6, said he was instituting it as a preventative measure to help the city battle the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19. As of Monday, seven Omicron cases had been confirmed in New York City.
“New York City will not give an inch in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe,” de Blasio said in a statement.
On Dec. 15, the city will issue an explanatory outline of how the mandate will be enforced.
A spokesman for Eric Adams said the mayor-elect has not determined what actions he will take.
“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,” spokesman Evan Thies said on Monday.
The new rule comes four days after the mayor announced a vaccine mandate for all teachers and staff members in private and religious schools.
That mandate affects approximately 2,200 teachers working in 69 in-person schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Citywide, the mandate affects an estimated 56,000 employees in 938 Catholic schools, yeshivas, and other non-public schools. The mayor imposed a Dec. 20 deadline for school employees to show proof of vaccination.
Also on Monday, de Blasio announced an expansion of the mandate requiring customers to show vaccination proof in order to dine in restaurants, work out in gyms, and go to entertainment venues.
Starting Dec. 14, children aged 5-11 will have to show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine. And starting Dec. 27, anyone 12 and older must display proof of not one, but two doses of the vaccine.