The mayor announced Monday morning that he would soon institute a vaccine mandate for all private sector employees in the city and making children aged five to 11 show proof of vaccination to take part in indoors dining, fitness or entertainment activities.
Currently in New York, only those 12 and older have to show proof of vaccine, and they only have to receive at least one shot to be eligible, with that figure being bumped up to two shots under the new restrictions.
De Blasio said his new orders will go into effect on December 27, and an official announcement with more information is expected later on Monday.
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, said on Monday morning that he will soon implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on all private sector employers in the city, along with other vaccine mandates
‘We in New York City have decided to use a pre-emptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of Covid and the dangers it’s causing to all of us,’ de Blasio told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
The mayor did not give details on how he would enforce these mandates on private businesses.
He said that the city health commissioner will release further details later in the day.
When the plan goes into place, New York City would be the first city to implement these kinds of mandates.
Currently, all people aged 12 or older have to show proof of vaccination to dine indoors or attend indoor events in the city.
The city is among those with the strictest Covid mandates in the nation already.
De Blasio said that he is making this move expecting a combination of factors to cause another Covid surge in the near future.
‘We’ve got Omicron as a new factor, we’ve got the colder weather which is really gonna create additional challenges with the delta variant, we’ve got holiday gatherings,’ he said.
The city was averaging nearly 1,600 new Covid cases every day when data was last updated on November 30 a jump of around 25 percent from the 1,200 case daily average from two weeks earlier.
Colder months have been unkind to New York during the pandemic as well.
Both summer Covid surges that struck much of the nation in 2020 and 2021 did not make much noise in New York City.
The first pandemic wave, in early 2020, was disastrous, though, as the city was caught off-guard by the novel virus – reaching over 8,000 new cases per day at some points.
Last winter, Covid struck again, rising new daily cases to over 6,000 at some points during another massive surge.
With cases already trending upwards, and a new variant to worry about, officials are fearing this winter could be a replay of the last.
The Omicron variant was first discovered in late November by South African health officials, and has quickly been sequenced across the world in recent weeks.
New York City has already emerged as an Omicron hot spot, just as it did with the first wave of the virus.
Seven Omicron cases have been detected in the city as of Monday morning, accounting for almost all of the state’s eight cases, and reaching a higher total than anywhere else in America.
One case detected in Minnesota was also in a man who had recently traveled to New York City for a convention.
In total, 34 cases of Omicron have been sequenced in 17 U.S. states.
Health officials do not yet know much about the variant, but it is believed to be highly contagious and it may have the ability to evade protection provided by the vaccines.
In South Africa, new daily cases have jumped from around 300 per day when the variant was first discovered, to over 10,000 per day as of now.
There is some positive news, though, as officials are reporting that Omicron cases are generally more mild than cases of other virus strains.
Hospitalizations and deaths are usually a lagging statistic when compared to cases, though, so officials are still weary on declaring Omicron as a minor threat.
De Blasio’s indoor dining mandate will be the first to affect children as young as five.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated