Before the restraining order issued by Justice Frank P. Nervo of the New York State Supreme Court, Mayor De Blasio issued another vaccine passport mandate for employees in the private sector.
The New York State Supreme Court scheduled an oral argument on December 14 regarding de Blasio's passport mandate.
Aside from de Blasio, also named respondents are New York City Board of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner David Choksi, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, the New York City Board of Health and the city of New York. The plaintiff is Anthony Marciano.
A no passport, no job policy is being enforced by many countries around the world, forcing citizens to show proof that they already are vaccinated to continue working and earn a living. De Blasio issued an order on October 20 which required all city hall employees to show a vaccine passport by October 29, or be suspended without pay.
The order, which affects 160,000 employees, came under fire from various groups with representatives of the police and firefighter unions warning that the order would result in shortage of the workforce.
Despite the uproar, de Blasio claimed the mandate was working and the vaccination rates had improved to 77 percent for the NYFD, 85 percent for the NYPD, 83 percent for sanitation workers and 88 percent for emergency medical technicians.
The mayor then targeted the private sector as he announced new measures, including a vaccine passport mandate that will take effect on December 27 and will affect 184,000 businesses. (Related: Mayor Bill de Blasio sued by business owners over New York City's vaccine mandate.)
New Yorkers aged five to 11 will be required to show a vaccine passport in order to enter restaurants and entertainment and performance venues. Children between those ages must also have at least one dose of the vaccine to participate in "high-risk extracurricular activities," such as dancing and playing sports, beginning December 14.
De Blasio said the measure is being implemented to curb the spread of the omicron variant of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). Private businesses will also be forced to ask employees to show a vaccine passport or lose their respective jobs.
Workers will not be given the option to show negative tests instead of vaccination, and the rules will apply to in-person employment.
"Omicron is here, and it looks like it's very transmissible," de Blasio said in an interview on MSNBC. He stressed that the timing is horrible with the winter months. "We in New York City have decided to use a pre-emptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers it's causing to all of us."
Private businesses criticized the new rules, which were given without warning. (Related: NY Mayor de Blasio’s Residence Vandalized by People Protesting Vaccine Mandate.)
Kathryn Wade, head of the business group Partnership for NYC, told the New York Post that it's not clear whether or not the mandate is legal and who is going to enforce it.
Indeed, it is not clear how De Blasio will enforce the new rules, considering he has only a few weeks left in office. Mayor-elect Eric Adams will assume office in January. Adams said he will evaluate the mandate and other COVID strategies upon assuming office and make his decision based on science, efficacy and the advice of health professionals.
De Blasio is expected to seek the post of New York governor on the Democratic Party ticket. He will contest the position against Republican bet Rep. Lee Zedling from Long Island.
In a statement, Zedlin described de Blasio as the "worst mayor in America."
"When you dangerously combine a far-left, lame duck politician, who is anti-business, one-dimensional, unaccountable, not bright and has a perpetual 'I always know best' attitude, you get Bill de Blasio," Zedlin said.
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