With the Omicron variant now in NYC, city officials are taking more stringent measures to combat the virus that include some pretty radical vaccine mandates.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that the city will require all employees of private sector businesses, who are reporting to work in person, to be vaccinated. This is a first in the country.
Not only that, but children 5 to 11 will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter into indoor restaurant dining, entertainment venues, and fitness centers.
"New York City will not give a single inch in the fight against COVID-19," de Blasio said in a statement. "Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe. From workplace mandates, to $100 incentives, to mobile and at-home vaccination offerings, no place in the nation has done more to end the COVID era. And if you have not taken this step yet: there’s no better day than today to stand up for your city."
These new mandates are the newest to come to NYC—this fall, de Blasio announced that all city workers must be vaccinated as of November 1—so there are many questions floating around about who needs a vaccine, when they need it by and how the mandate will affect living and working in NYC.
Below, we've answered questions you may have about the new vaccine mandates in NYC:
Who's mandated to have a vaccine in NYC?
In-person workers of private businesses that have more than one employee.
City employees, childcare providers, and non-public school employees have been required to be vaccinated before now. Already 94% of the City workforce is vaccinated.
When must these workers be vaccinated by?
In-person workers must have their first dose by December 27.
What happens if private sector employees aren't vaccinated by this time?
According to NBC, noncompliance could mean unpaid leave. De Blasio has acknowledged that some smaller private businesses may not have that capacity and will be working out details to address that with them.
Workers won't be allowed to get out of the requirement by doing regular COVID-19 testing instead.
How many businesses will this apply to?
Roughly 184,000 businesses.
The city will issue additional information about enforcement, accommodation guidance and resources to support small businesses in their implementation of this on December 15.
Are kids mandated to get a vaccine?
No, but children aged 5-11 must show proof of one vaccination dose at indoor dining, fitness, entertainment and performance venues. This age bracket must also be vaccinated to participate in "high-risk" extracurricular activities—sports, band, orchestra and dance.
Kids 12 and older must show proof of two vaccine doses, instead of one (unless they have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) to do these indoor activities.
When will kids need to have their first vaccine shot by?
Kids 5-11 will need to show proof of their first vaccine shot starting December 14.
Kids 12 and older will need to show their two-dose proof starting December 27.
How do you show proof of vaccination?
Acceptable proof of vaccination includes a CDC issued vaccination card, the New York State Excelsior Pass, the Clear Health Pass, and the NYC COVID Safe App. You can find out more about these vaccine passports here.
Are masks also required?
Masks are not mandated to be worn indoors—the city just recommends wearing them indoors regardless of vaccination status. Despite this, many businesses and NYC institutions are requiring they be worn, so check before you head in anywhere.