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New York City extends vaccine mandate to all private sector employees

Starting Dec. 27, New Yorkers age 12 and older will be required to show proof of two vaccine doses, instead of one, except for those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers it’s causing to all of us,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio’s announcement for private-sector employees includes new expansions to the city’s “Key to NYC” vaccination proof requirements.

The private-sector mandate is the latest vaccine mandate ordered by de Blasio this year that ties proof of vaccination status to employment. De Blasio issued an executive order on Oct. 27 that required all city workers to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He previously issued vaccine requirements aimed squarely at Department of Education employees.

The Dec. 27 private-sector vaccine mandate will radically alter the number of employees who now have their employment tied to vaccination status. There are roughly 312,000 municipal workers in New York City, compared with millions of private-sector employees across the five boroughs.

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The new mandate applies to 184,000 business, de Blasio said, and his administration will set up a call center in the coming days to address concerns from business owners.

“We’re going to do this so every employer is a on a level playing field,” he said. 

De Blasio’s vaccine mandates against city employees have been challenged in court but have held up to the legal actions taken by unions and city workers in state and federal courts.

​​De Blasio expressed confidence his latest vaccine mandate would hold up in court if challenged and said his administration would work with the business community to formulate a set of rules before implementation at the end of the month. He said that specific rules and additional guidance would be released Dec. 15.

“The more universal they are, the more likely employees will say, ‘OK, it’s time, I’m going to do this,’” he said. “Because you can’t jump from one industry to another or one company to another. It’s something that needs to be universal to protect all of us.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain’s New York Business.

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