Wed | Sep 28, 2022

NYC ending vaccine mandate for private employers on November 1

Published:Tuesday | September 20, 2022 | 11:50 AM
Commuters wear face masks while riding the subway in New York, June 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City will lift its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private-sector employers on November 1, Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday in another sign of the city's gradual return to pre-pandemic norms.

The city began requiring almost all private businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace in December 2021, just as the Omicron wave began claiming hundreds of lives in the city.

It remains the largest place in the US to have made vaccines mandatory as a workplace safety measure.

Some workers who refused the shots were fired.

The mandate also grabbed attention for its potential impact on professional sports, though just before the Yankees and Mets began their seasons, Adams gave a special exemption to athletes and entertainers. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving had famously been barred from playing in home games because of the city's vaccine rules.

Adams, a Democrat, announced the relaxation of the rules at a City Hall news conference where he got his own updated COVID-19 booster shot.

Employers will be free to continue requiring workers to get vaccinated as a condition of employment.

“This puts the choice in the hands of New York businesses,” Adams said.

Proof of vaccination will for the time being still be required for municipal workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers, the mayor said.

The city is still in the process of firing hundreds of workers who refused the shots.

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