He discussed the challenges ahead and laid out his priorities for his term.
Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, Adams said the city must balance staying safe while keeping the city’s economy running.
“COVID is a formidable opponent and it continues to evolve, and we must pivot and evolve with it, but you can’t do it viewing yourself from within the crisis,” Adams told anchor George Stephanopoulos. “We have to see ourselves past the crisis.”
He said closing down the city would be just as dangerous as COVID itself.
“We can’t live through variants, we spent $11 trillion on COVID and we don’t have another $11 trillion, so our lives can’t be based on what’s the new variant, no, we have to figure out how we adjust,” Adams said.
He urged New Yorkers to do their part by getting vaccinated and boosted.
As NYC schools prepare to reopen for in-person learning on Monday, Adams was asked what message he has for parents who fear sending their kids back.
“The stats are clear, the safest place for children is inside a school, the numbers of transmissions are low, your children are in a safe place to learn and to thrive,” Adams said. “We lost almost two years of education, George, we can’t do it again.”
Adams said this week that he plans to keep in place many of the policies of outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, including vaccine mandates that are among the strictest in the nation.
The city’s municipal workforce is required to be vaccinated, as is anyone trying to dine indoors, see a show, work out at a gym or attend a conference. But New York City has also newly required employees in the private sector to get their shots, the most sweeping mandate of any state or big city and a policy Adams said he will preserve.
When asked if he would mandate vaccines for teachers, police officers or other city workers to get a booster shot, Adams said that will be the next decision he makes.
“We’re going to examine the numbers, if we feel we have to get to the place of making that mandatory, we’re going to do that but we’re encouraging them to do it now,” Adams said.
Adams’ top promise during his campaign was to get crime under control. On Saturday, he declared that New York is “not going to be a city of violence.”
He vowed new Police Commissioner Keechant Sewel will focus on public safety and justice, both for long-term and right now.
“We are going to zero in on gangs, we are going to re-institute a plain-clothes anti-gun unit and zero in on those guns,” Adams said.
He said it is part of his mission to aggressively go after those who carry violent weapons.
“I say it all the time, the pre-requisite to prosperity is public safety and justice, my city is going to be safe,” Adams said.
WATCH | Eric Adams delivers first address as mayor of New York City:
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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