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New York City Eliminates Private Sector Vaccine Mandate

City workers still required to show proof of vaccination

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced that the city will be ending its COVID-19 vaccine mandate effective Nov. 1.

Adams and the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan are encouraging private businesses to institute their own vaccine policies.

State officials implemented a sweeping mandate in December 2021, requiring nearly all private businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace. Employees at approximately 184,000 businesses were impacted by the mandate.

“We urge all New Yorkers to make a plan to get vaccinated if they are eligible, and we are grateful to the millions of New Yorkers who have already stepped up to keep themselves and their community safe,” Adams said in a statement announcing the new directive.

City workers are not impacted by this latest decision and are still subject to NYC’s vaccination mandate for government workers.

The updated guidance comes just days after President Joe Biden declared in a televised interview on 60 Minutes that the pandemic is over.

New York’s vaccine mandate policy change was also announced several days after NYC’s Department of Education fired another 850 teachers and classroom aides for failing to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate. This round of terminations followed roughly 1,100 Education Department staff previously let go for failing to comply with the mandate.

As of July, nearly 1,800 NYC workers had been terminated for electing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“As we reach this next important milestone in New York City’s recovery from the pandemic, I want to thank New Yorkers — businesses, individuals, and countless partners — who have done their part to protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “As we enter this next phase of our recovery and provide more options and flexibility for businesses and their workforce, we would do well to remember that this collective spirit is what got us here and what will enable us to tackle future challenges facing our city.”

Recently, an officer with the NYPD who sued the city over the vaccine mandate had a Manhattan judge rule in his favor, arguing that the man could not be fired over declining vaccination.

“My goal is to keep them employed,” said the man’s attorney, James Mermigis. “The last thing we need is to fire more cops when there is an acceleration of crime.”

He added, “These are people that were heroes during COVID that put their own safety at risk to help the city of New York and this is how the mayor treats them?” It’s an absolute disgrace.”

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