NYC Mayor: Sports Teams Vaccine Mandate Rollbacks Must Wait

NYC Mayor: Sports Teams Vaccine Mandate Rollbacks Must Wait

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, February 28, 2022. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

New York City mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that the city’s sports teams, including the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, New York Yankees and New York Mets, will have to continue to wait their turn for a potential rollback of the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for private employers.

During a press conference announcing that the city would make masking optional for daycare students between the ages of two and four beginning next month — contingent upon the city’s Covid levels remaining the same — he acknowledged that the city is “going to take some complaints” over its Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which has kept some players from being able to compete.

“But when this is all said and done, people are going to realize this is a thoughtful administration and we got it right,” he said. “So baseball, basketball, businesses, all of those things, they have to wait until that layer comes.”

The mandate prohibits employees from working in an office, or players from playing for their teams, if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

The policy has kept the Nets’ Kyrie Irving from playing any games in New York City this season.

“We’re going to do it in the right way,” Adams said. “We’re going to follow the science . . . we’re going to make the right decision. And in New York, no matter what you do, this is 8.8 million people and 30 million opinions, so you’re never going to satisfy New Yorkers, so you must go with the logic, your heart and the science.”

The city’s professional sports teams have been waiting for a change in the rule as a series of important events are slated for next month: The Yankees’ home opener is scheduled for April 7, the NBA play-in tournament begins April 12, and the Mets’ home opener is April 15, according to ESPN.

However, Adams said he doesn’t “feel any pressure” from the sports teams “because I’m going to do what’s right.”

“We’re going to slowly peel back, as I stated over and over again, we’re going to do it layer by layer and each layer we peel back we’re going to do an analysis: ‘Are we okay?’” Adams said. “And if we have to pivot and shift and come back here in a week and say we’re going to do something different, we’re going to do that. I’m not going to hesitate to say this is where the numbers are taking us, this is where the science is and this is what we’re going to do. Because I’m not going to only view this from where we are in the crisis, I see myself out of crisis.”

Adams went on to claim a lot of the city’s businesses “love the mandates.”

“When I speak to a lot of my businesses, getting people back in the office, that mandate is allowing them to feel safe in the office for those who feel that they would rather the vaccine mandate to be in place,” he said. “But again, we’re going to do it in layers, and when we feel it’s the right time to look at that, if we do so at all, because the work environment is an important environment, we’re going to make that determination. We’re not there yet.”

The city’s health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, said that officials plan to keep an eye on the case trends over the next two weeks before issuing a determination on the mandate. Vasan noted cases have been on the rise in recent days; the city has seen a 50 percent increase in its infection rate over the past week.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

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By: Brittany Bernstein

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