New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced on Tuesday that the city’s COVID vaccine mandate for the private sector will soon become optional.
Adams shared the update as he received his own booster shot on Tuesday, encouraging New Yorkers to take part in the new voluntary program.
The mayor noted that “the additional flexibility we are announcing for private employers, students, and parents puts the choice back into each of their hands.”
JUST IN: @NYCMayor announces that New York City is updating its COVID-19 measures for private businesses and parents, giving them more flexibility to make their own decisions that are best for them.
Learn more here: pic.twitter.com/tLCWEsxzIp
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) September 20, 2022
The city’s deputy mayor for health and human services Anne Williams-Isom shared the details regarding the announcement.
“While we continue to adapt to the virus with these changes to vaccine mandates for private-sector employees and students participating in sports and extracurricular activities, we must continue doing our part to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” she said in the statement.
“The best way we can do that is to get vaccinated and get boosted. I strongly encourage every New Yorker to reach out to their primary care physician, local pharmacy, or any city-affiliated site to schedule their vaccine or updated booster shot appointment today,” she added.
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) September 20, 2022
The news also revealed that New York City school students participating in sports and extracurricular activities will no longer be required to show proof of COVID vaccination, effectively immediately. The private sector mandate will become optional starting November 1.
The move will likely encourage more New Yorkers to return to in-office work, a concern shared by many employers and workers across the city.
“The mayor’s decision to allow individual employers to determine COVID-19 protocols is most welcome,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership for New York City, in the mayor’s statement. “It will accelerate return to the office and encourage New Yorkers to move beyond the pandemic mentality.”
The mayor’s update comes just two days after President Joe Biden said “the pandemic is over” during a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday.
“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over,” he added.
President Biden said the pandemic is ‘over’ in an interview with ’60 Minutes.’
New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased in recent weeks, but the current average daily deaths is approx 400, per CDC data. pic.twitter.com/l86OL888DP
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 20, 2022
The news also comes after Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) announced last month that the state is lifting its COVID restrictions for schools to align with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
“No more quarantining — no more ‘test to stay,’” Hochul told reporters. “The days of sending an entire classroom home because one person was symptomatic or tested positive — those days are over.”
“What that means is if a classmate tests positive for COVID and your child doesn’t have symptoms, your child can stay in school as long as they wear a mask under those circumstances. That’s what we’re recommending,” Hochul added.
The state continues to encourage vaccination. However, the latest update from the state does not currently require COVID vaccinations for students or staff to attend school for the 2022-2023 school year.