New York City expanded its toolkit of COVID-19 mandates on Monday, setting vaccine requirements for children as young as 5 years old and for workers at all private-sector companies as the highly transmissible Omicron variant pushes into more U.S. states.
The most populous U.S. city set a Dec. 27 deadline for all 184,000 businesses within its limits to make their employees show proof that they have been vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
In addition, children 5 to 11 years old must get at least one dose by Dec. 14 and those 12 and older need to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 27 to enter restaurants and to participate in extracurricular school activities, such as sports, band and dances.
“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,” de Blasio, who leaves office next month, said in a statement.
De Blasio’s successor, Eric Adams, will evaluate the mandate and other strategies to combat the pandemic when he takes office in January, his spokesperson Evan Thies said.
The mandate means that many young people, or their parents, will need to scramble to get a shot to keep eating out or participating in after-school activities. Only about 27% of New
Yorkers ages 5 to 12 have taken at least one dose and just 15% are fully vaccinated, according to the city’s website https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data-vaccines.page.
For adult New Yorkers, vaccination rates are much higher. About 89% have received at least one vaccine dose, topping the national rate of 83.5% reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations_vacc-total-admin-rate-total.