NYC vaccine mandate for private employers faces pushback

NEW YORK CITY (NewsNation Now) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing backlash after announcing the strictest vaccine mandate in the country.

De Blasio said on Monday all private employers big and small in the city will have to require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 27.

It is the most sweeping vaccine mandate of any state or big city in the U.S. De Blasio said that the move is aimed at preventing a spike in coronavirus infections during the holiday season and the colder months. 

The mandate would require workers to provide proof of at least one dose of the vaccine and will not allow for retesting opt-outs,

Workers will not be able to opt-out of regular testing kids as young as five years old and won’t be able to enter a restaurant without proof of vaccination.

“It’s already a little different out here,” NewsNation’s Paul Gerke said, reporting from the streets of New New York. “It feels strange to walk into a restaurant or entertainment venue and have to show your vaccination card. I imagine that’s going to create some real snags for people with multiple kids.”

New York City is really banking on the success of its vaccine mandates. Its public sector mandate drove vaccination rates to 90%.

For those who actually work for New York City, it’s one of the most vaccinated cities in the country. Roughly 84% of the people who live here have already had at least one shot.

Critics argue that the latest vaccine mandate is a serious case of government overreach and some business leaders are already pushing back.

Brooklyn’s Chamber of Commerce calls it “virtually unenforceable.”

City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli tweeted: “In the Bronx, with 15% unemployment, 28% of residents will no longer be eligible to work on December 27.”

The expanded vaccine mandate would also require children as young as 5 years old to be vaccinated to eat inside any restaurant or visit any entertainment venue, the same rules that apply to adults in the city.

“If parents feel that the kids need to be protected, well, I cannot say for them,” said Flushing, Queens resident Pia Fernandez-Vega. “But what I can say is that I think if I have kids like that, I will not give them the vaccine at the age.”

Another hurdle facing NYC’s proposal is the transition to the next mayor. The mandate would go into effect just four days before mayor-elect Eric Adams takes office.

A spokesperson from Adams’ team said, “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.”

Legal challenges to these mandates are expected, but the mayor’s office expects that they will hold up in court.

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