Mayor-elect Eric Adams has promised a seamless transition regarding the city’s COVID-19 response, including keeping outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s planned mandate that private businesses require vaccination for all employees.
‘We can’t shut down our city again. We can’t allow the city to go further into economic despair,’ Adams during a morning press conference on Thursday, where he unveiled his six-point plan to combat coronavirus.
At the beginning of December, de Blasio announced what he called a ‘pre-emptive strike’ to prevent another wave of the virus, forcing private employers to require all on-site workers get their shots.
Businesses were required to start showing proof of employee vaccinations on December 27, per the policy. The mandate covers all companies in the five boroughs, from Goldman Sachs to the corner bodega.
Adams’ health advisers are currently mulling the idea to include booster shots in the current vaccine mandates, meaning employers would have to hound their workers to get a third shot.
School vaccination mandates could also be on the table, officials said. The health commissioner said that his working group will also study a requirement for all public school children to get vaccinated by spring.
The Big Apple chalked a record 44,000 new cases on Thursday, the largest one-day number since the pandemic began. Gov. Kathy Hochul also announced that New York state saw a record 74,207 daily cases on Thursday.
New Yorkers have had to endure long lines to get their COVID-19 tests, a key component of the mayor-elect’s plan to fight the Omicron surge
City Health Commissioner Dave Choksi will stay on in the Adams administration to ensure continuity in the fight against COVID-19
New York City’s incoming Mayor Eric Adams (right) said that he will continue the private sector vaccine mandate but will try to improve communication with businesses, unlike outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio (left)
Mayor-elect Eric Adams will continue the requirement for private sector businesses to vaccinate their workers
‘The private sector employer mandate will stay in effect in the new year with the focus on compliance not punishment,’ Health Department Commissioner Dr. Dave Choksi, who will stay on in Adams’ administration, said Thursday.
‘We know businesses share our goal of keeping their staff and their clients safe and their doors open,” he said. ‘To put it simply, Covid is bad for business and vaccination ensures not just health but also a healthy economy.
City bars and restaurants have also closed down because of the increase in Omicron infections and the Times Square New Year’s Eve festivities, traditionally an economic driver for Midtown Manhattan, have been pared down from 58,000 to 15,000 revelers.
Adams will have his inauguration ceremony at the event, after canceling the in-person event on Saturday, in a move to symbolize that New York City will stay open.
Many businesses and Broadway shows voluntarily shut down temporarily due to COVID outbreaks, and the Rockettes shut down entirely for the season. The virus has also wrecked havoc on municipal employees, with 30 percent of the FDNY’s EMS workers out sick.
Apple was forced to shut down 16 of its stores in New York because workers were out sick or isolating because of the virus.
‘What we are doing now by speaking with our large businesses and our small businesses, we’re going to receive the level of cooperation we need to ensure that we get the compliance that we need,’ Adams said.
Gracie Mansion’s soon-to-be resident will take a softer approach, however, to show he treats the private sector.
‘I am going to really expand on the communication and education’ Adams said Thursday.
‘I don’t believe we need to be heavy-handed with our businesses. COVID has been heavy-handed enough.’
The Health Department will have a dedicated team to work with employers, Choksi said, ‘forgoing fines so long as employers help get their workers vaccinated.’
In New York City, tech giant Apple has shut all its stores but it will still allow customers to pick up online orders
In New York City, Broadway has also been forced to temporarily shut down some of its shows, including Hugh Jackman’s The Music Man, and others, like Waitress (pictured) and the Rockettes shut down entirely for the season
The new administration will also ramp up testing in schools and provide in-home test kits for students. Adams promise to revamp the ventilation systems in the cities schools to cut down on infections.
Adams’s health officials are also in close communication with hospitals across the five boroughs to ensure that they are prepared for the increased demand from the Omicron spike in infections. This means more virtual medicine and beefing up the nursing staffs of city hospitals.
The new mayor will also try to stop the new wave by tackling infections in group settings, like jails, hospitals and nursing homes so that they don’t become super spreader sites. He promised to focus on more testing and quickly isolating those who test positive in the group sites.
In addition to the 60 new testing sites that have already been added to the city health department, Choksi said that the city would pour more money into opening more testing centers.
Adams lauded the de Blasio administration for his work during the pandemic, which has been widely criticized as inadequate.
One thing that the new mayor said he will do better on is communication.
‘If there was one critique, as I stated, I think that the mayor in a state of urgency with which he was faced – we could’ve all done a better job at communicating with our various stakeholders,’ Adams said.