New York City vaccine mandate for private sector draws flak

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The expansion of Covid-19 vaccine mandate to the private sector in New York City made headlines and drew some criticism over possible impact on employment.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that workers in the private sector also would come under the Covid-19 vaccine mandate, Xinhua news agency reported.

The mandate would take effect on December 27, applying to around 184,000 businesses, according to de Blasio.

De Blasio added that specific rules in this regard would be released on December 15 and the mandate would apply to in-person employees only without an option for weekly testing.

“In The Bronx, with 15 per cent unemployment, 28 per cent of residents will no longer be able to work on December 27, including 44 per cent of Black young adults, as a result of de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for the private sector,” said Joe Borelli, Staten Island Councilman and the incoming Republican minority leader, on his Tweet account.

“There are 62,000 small businesses in Brooklyn, alone. It sets up problematic confrontations between employers and staff, which could result in layoffs around the holidays that would be incredibly unfortunate,” said Randy Peters, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

The timing of the mayor’s announcement and the failure to consult with the business community make a very nervous, bad situation worse, said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the nonprofit business organization Partnership for New York City.

De Blasio also announced that children aged 5 to 11 would be required to show proof of vaccination at indoor dining, fitness, entertainment and performance venues or before participating in high-risk extracurricular activities like sports, band, orchestra and dance starting from December 14.

The seven-day average of new Covid cases in New York City increased to 1,975 on Monday from less than 1,000 in the beginning of November.

Born in 1961, de Blasio is going to leave his office at the end of December after serving two terms as New York City mayor.

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