New York City’s private business COVID-19 vaccine mandate and school masking requirement will be lifted soon, the city’s mayor said Feb. 27.
But Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, is still not rescinding the mandate that forces workers to get vaccinated, as New York continues to be the most reluctant locale in the nation in rolling back harsh rules imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, earlier Sunday said the state was dropping its school mask mandate, citing how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly and drastically changed a key measure influencing mask mandates across the country.
“Given the decline in our rates, our hospitalizations, strong vaccination rates, and the CDC guidance, my friends, the day has come,” Hochul told a briefing.
Adams then issued a statement saying he would soon follow suit.
“If we see no unforeseen spikes and our numbers continue to show a low level of risk, New York City will remove the indoor mask mandate for public school children, effective next Monday, March 7,” Adams said. The school system’s outdoor mask mandate was rolled back effective Feb. 28.
The city’s so-called Key 2 NYC program, meanwhile, which requires businesses to verify customers have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, will end that same day “as long as COVID indicators show a low level of risk and we see no surprises this week,” Adams added.
Adams, a former police officer, inherited a complex of COVID-19 rules from his predecessor, Bill de Blasio. So far, he has kept virtually all of them in place.
Adams emphasized that all other rules would not be withdrawn, even if numbers remain low, claiming that they “are, and have been, vital to protecting New Yorkers.”
Many of the rules in New York and elsewhere were imposed after data began emerging indicating that the COVID-19 vaccines did not prevent transmission and that vaccinated people could get infected.
Since then, the Omicron virus variant displaced Delta as the dominant strain in America. Data suggest the vaccines perform the worst against Omicron, providing little to no protection against infection, and not shielding as well against severe disease.
Some 96 percent of adults in New York City have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and all Americans aged 5 or older are eligible to get vaccinated.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said “removing proof of vaccination for indoor dining in NYC will be welcome news to many restaurants and bars,” but added he “wouldn’t be surprised if some businesses want to voluntarily” keep the requirements in place.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times