(CMR) To prevent the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, New York City has implemented a vaccine mandate for all private employers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the new measure, which is the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as 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.”
“Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible. The timing is horrible with the winter months,” he said.
During a press conference on Monday, de Blasio said the mandate applies to in-person employees in a workplace with other coworkers. The mayor said the city would publish guidelines to provide more information on implementation and enforcement.
New York City has already put vaccine mandates in place for city workers and indoor dining, entertainment, and gyms. Nearly 90 percent of adults in the city now have at least one dose of the vaccine, the New York Times reported.
The new measure, which comes into effect on December 27, will apply to about 184,000 businesses. Mr. de Blasio said the city must combat another wave of the virus in New York City.
“We’ve been to this movie before; we’ve been down this road before. We know what happens when we get a new variant, particularly one that’s highly transmissible. We are not going back to what happened in 2020,” he said.
Some private employers had required employees to get vaccinated before this mandate, but many others have not.
The mayor also announced that the rules for dining and entertainment would apply to children ages 5 to 11, who must have one dose to enter restaurants and theaters starting December 14. The requirement for adults would increase from one dose of a vaccine to two beginning on December 27. This will not apply to those who initially received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.