New York City’s private sector workers have to have at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by December 27 as part of a new citywide vaccine mandate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the mandate on Monday, saying it was a “preemptive strike” against a possible surge in COVID-19 cases this winter, given the emergence of the omicron variant, increase in delta cases and the increasingly cold weather.
"It looks like it's very transmissible," de Blasio said of the new variant, of which there is at least five cases in NYC. "It’s just going to make a tough situation even tougher."
The new mandate sets New York City apart from the rest of the country as the broadest to date, Gothamist reports. Currently, all municipal workers, health care providers and education staff are required to be vaccinated, and now private sector workers will be joining them.
But already, not everyone is on board. Randy Peers, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, said in a statement the mandate could lead to "horrific financial consequences" for the city and its businesses.
"As many employers, especially small businesses, are still struggling with labor shortages, the mayor's private business mandates mean more pain for the City’s economy," Peers said.
"While virtually unenforceable - there are 62,000 small businesses in Brooklyn alone - it sets up problematic confrontations between employers and staff, which could result in layoffs around the holidays that would be incredibly unfortunate."
He added that surrounding counties and states were unlikely to follow suit, meaning "people will choose to shop and work outside the city, imposing horrific financial consequences on our tax base and our businesses. ”
The private sector mandate follows mandates issued by de Blasio last week for all private and religious school employees and childcare workers to be vaccinated.
Also, starting Dec. 27, de Blasio announced those going indoors at restaurants, gyms and other cultural and entertainment venues must have two doses of a vaccine, and those aged between 5 and 11 years old must also show proof of vaccination for indoor activities.