Mayor Eric Adams of New York City has not enforced the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for employees at private businesses, and has no plans to begin inspecting businesses or begin fining those that are not in compliance.
Newsday first reported on the lack of enforcement of the vaccine mandate for private employers.
“We have been focused on prioritizing education instead of enforcement when it comes to the private sector mandate, which is how we’ve been able to get more than 87 percent of all New Yorkers with their first dose to date,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, said in an email.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a vaccine mandate for employees at private businesses in December, the most far-reaching local measure in the United States at the time. The mandate applied to around 184,000 businesses of all sizes with employees who work on-site in New York City.
Mr. de Blasio said city officials would inspect businesses, and that business owners who refused to comply would likely face fines of up to $1,000. At the time, business leaders raised concerns about how difficult it would be to actually enforce the measure.
Those concerns weren’t unwarranted. During the first week of the mandate, from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31, just 31 percent of the 3,025 businesses inspected were found to be in compliance. But the Adams administration has stopped those inspections, and under his administration, no businesses have actually faced fines.
The city has been more rigorous in enforcing the vaccine mandate for public sector employees, many of whom have been fired from their jobs for failing to comply.
Ninety-one percent of people in New York City have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 78 percent of people are fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times’s coronavirus vaccine tracker.
Vaccine mandates, and the enforcement of them, are still essential, said Dr. Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.
“I believe that mandating vaccination in certain settings such as workplaces or venues has the potential to increase the population level coverage of vaccines,” Dr. Nash said.
But, he added, the mandates need “some incentive or disincentive,” otherwise it’s unlikely people will comply with them.
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