Dec. 6, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday a major expansion of the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Children will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to go to a restaurant or movie starting later this month. All private-sector employees will also be mandated to get the shot.
The city will require children aged 5 to 11 to show proof of at least one vaccine dose — beginning Dec. 14 — in order to patronize indoor restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment and performance venues. To date, about 19 percent of New York City children — 127,000 kids — aged 5 to 11 have received at least one dose.
De Blasio is also stepping up the requirement for adults.
New Yorkers 12 and older will be required starting Dec. 27 to show proof of two vaccine doses (except those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) for indoor dining, fitness centers and entertainment venues — instead of just one dose.
De Blasio announced that the city is also expanding its vaccination requirement to include private-sector employees who are not already covered by its current mandate. The “first-in-the-nation,” private-sector vax mandate will take effect on Dec. 27 and will apply to all employees who are working in person.
The mayor said the city will release more detailed guidance on the mandate for private businesses on Dec. 15.
De Blasio announced the “aggressive” vaccine measures as more cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in New York City. He said the measures are necessary to avoid another wave of COVID-19 and subsequent business shutdowns.
“We are taking aggressive actions today,” de Blasio said during a press briefing Monday. “We are not going back to what happened in 2020.”
About 82 percent of adults in New York City have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to city data. De Blasio credited the city’s existing vaccine mandate for the high percentage.
“Vaccination works and vaccine mandates work,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”
City workers, as well as employees at restaurants, fitness centers, indoor entertainment venues, childcare providers and private schools, are already required to be vaccinated.
De Blasio described the new, sweeping vaccine mandate as a “preemptive strike” ahead of an expected increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, cold weather and upcoming holiday gatherings.
“We need to take very bold action, aggressive action to address these new threats,” he said. “It’s Omicron; it’s cold weather — which we know presents a real challenge with COVID in every form; it’s the holiday gatherings coming up.”
De Blasio announced the expansion of the city’s vaccine mandate with less than a month left in office.
The mandate and its enforcement will soon fall into the hands of Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who will take over on Jan. 1. His spokesperson told news outlets that Adams will evaluate the order once he is in office.