Mayor Bill de Blasio details private-sector vaccine mandate enforcement in New York City

Coronavirus Update for New York City

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, December 16, 2021
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CeFaan Kim has the latest on the COVID pandemic and its impact on New York City amid the holiday season.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed his plan to enforce the vaccine mandate for all New York City businesses on Wednesday.

The mayor announced the most aggressive vaccine mandate in the country last week, requiring private-sector workers to get vaccinated by December 27.

Mayor de Blasio said all private-sector workers must provide proof of vaccination to their employers, and all employers must keep a record of each worker's proof.

Employers must:

- Post an official sign-in document in an obvious spot

- Keep records of all vaccination proofs and reasonable accommodations

-Ensure employees get 2nd doses if needed

- Employees seeking reasonable accommodations must apply by December 27 and can continue working while accommodation applications are being processed.

"The goal is not to penalize," de Blasio said. "The goal is simply to make this work."

Businesses should be prepared to make their records available for inspection.

Small businesses that would like help with this requirement can call the NYC Department of Small Business Services hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692).

This private sector workplace requirement does not apply to the following:

- People who work alone - at home or otherwise - and do not have in-person contact with co-workers or others in the course of their business.

- People who enter a workplace briefly for a limited purpose, such as to use the bathroom.

- Non-NYC resident performing artists, college or professional athletes, and anyone who accompanies them.

- People who have requested reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons. If a worker is granted a reasonable accommodation, businesses must record the basis for the accommodation and keep supporting documentation in accordance with the below guidance.

For more information on the mandate the city put all of the information on the website: Nyc.gov/vaxtowork

The NYPD says the responsibility won't be on them to enforce the mandate. For businesses, it's yet another layer of red tape. They're worried it could lead to even more worker shortages.

Several business leaders have been critical. Many, saying the city is acting too quickly and that employers should have a testing option.

Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, issued a statement in response to the mayor's private sector mandate guidelines:

"Problems associated with both the mayor's vaccine mandate and the governor's mask mandate involve how these policies will be enforced, the lack of a testing option, and the short time allowed to achieve compliance," Wylde said. "The guidelines issued today are helpful and employers will be doing their best to achieve the public health objectives of vaccine and mask mandates."

The mayor says the mandate is pro-business.

"They like to see the government lead," he said last week. "We did that with our own public employees, our own public schools. We proved it works. And then what we also heard from business leaders is whatever you do, don't let us go back to shut down. Don't let us go backward."

Of course, many companies have already imposed their own vaccine mandates without government intervention.

The city's vaccination rate is already close to 90%, one of the highest in the nation. Statewide, that number is 70%, while roughly 60% of all Americans are vaccinated.

The vaccine mandate for the private-sector is on top of other new rules and mandates.

Proof of vaccination is now required for everyone ages 5 and older at indoor venues in the city, like Broadway shows.

Security staff checked paperwork as children attended Tuesday night's performance of the "Lion King."

But Governor Kathy Hochul's new mask mandate isn't being as well received by everyone.

Incoming Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman says he will not enforce it because he doesn't believe his county is in a crisis.

He takes office the first of the year.

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