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12/28/2021

Strict vaccine mandate for private sector takes effect in NYC

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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New York City's new vaccine mandate affects about 184,000 businesses.

New York City has become the first city in the United States to impose a coronavirus vaccine mandate for private employers.

On Dec. 27, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for private businesses went into effect. The mandate requires that all private employers in New York City verify that their on-site employees have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Employees who have opted for a two-dose vaccine must submit proof that they have received the second dose within 45 days. (A COVID-vaccine mandate in New York City is already in effect for city workers, and has been in place patrons and staff at restaurants, indoor entertainment venues and gyms, since August.)

The new requirements take effect as New York City is being hit with a surge of omicron variant-fueled virus infections.

“I am 110 percent convinced this was the right thing to do, remains the right thing to do, particularly with the ferocity of Omicron,” the mayor said Monday, reported the New York Times. “And I don’t know if there’s going to be another variant behind it, but I do know our best defense is to get everyone vaccinated and mandates have worked.”

The mandate goes into effect during de Blasio’s last week as mayor. Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who takes office on Jan. 1, has not commented on what actions he will take, if any, with regards to the requirement, which has faced pushback from business owners, with some planning a legal challenge.

Noncompliance with the mandate comes with fines up to $1,000 per violation and escalating penalties thereafter if violations persist.According to the Times report, de Blasio promised that enforcement would be light during his final week as mayor. City officials will inspect businesses, only business owners who flat-out refuse to cooperate with the mandate are likely to face fines.

[Read More: Commentary: New York City’s new vaccine requirements for employers]