As part of sweeping citywide vaccine requirements, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a new mandate for kids 5 and up
With the rise of a new COVID-19 variant and a spike in new cases nationwide, New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has announced sweeping new vaccine mandates in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, requiring that kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one vaccine dose in order to participate in “high-risk extracurricular activities.”
The mayor’s office announced in a press release that beginning on Tuesday, December 14, everyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine — i.e., kids 5 and up — are now required to show proof of at least one dose to enter indoor dining, fitness, entertainment and performance venues, as well as to participate in sports, band, orchestra, and dance activities across the city. The new requirements are included as part of an expansion of the city’s “Key to NYC” program, a first-of-its-kind effort in the nation that requires those who are eligible to receive their vaccine to provide proof before entering businesses.
So far, more than 125,000 New York City children in the 5-11 age bracket have already received at least one dose — as of December 1, around 4.2 million children nationwide had gotten at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly 6.5 million NYC residents – including 89 percent of adults – have received at least one dose, but with the expectation of increased case rates due to Omicron, colder weather bringing people indoors, and the holiday season, it seems de Blasio is trying to cap the spread and remind New Yorkers that the pandemic is not yet over.
Along with requiring vaccines for kids, the mayor also announced the first-ever vaccine mandate for private sector workers, requiring employees at roughly 184,000 businesses to show proof of two vaccine doses (or one dose for Johnson & Johnson recipients) to attend work beginning on on December 27.
“New York City will not give a single inch in the fight against COVID-19,” said de Blasio in a statement via press release. “Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic, and these are bold, first-in-the-nation measures to encourage New Yorkers to keep themselves and their communities safe. From workplace mandates, to $100 incentives, to mobile and at-home vaccination offerings, no place in the nation has done more to end the COVID era. And if you have not taken this step yet: there’s no better day than today to stand up for your city.”
As the initial COVID hot spot when the virus made its way to the U.S. in 2020, it’s clear that de Blasio is pulling no punches – hopefully these mandates will help save as many lives as possible along the way, and hopefully other cities large and small will follow suit soon.