New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday announced a sweeping new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the city's private employers, to go into effect starting Dec. 27, The New York Times reports.
The mayor described the "first-in-the-nation" measure as a "preemptive strike" against yet another surge of infections, particularly during the holidays and winter season.
"We've got Omicron as a new factor," de Blasio told MSNBC. "We've got the colder weather, which is going to really create additional challenges with the Delta variant. We've got holidays gatherings."
"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," he added.
De Blasio also announced the city would be extended existing dining and entertainment vaccination requirements to children ages 5 to 11 beginning Dec. 14, and that the rule for adults would increase from one shot dose to two beginning Dec. 27. Kids between 5 and 11-years-old need only show proof of one dose when the rule kicks in, however, per NBC 4 New York.
The mayor, who has less than a month left in office, said he is confident this new measure will survive legal challenges, writes the Times.
"We are confident because it's universal," de Blasio said regarding the mandate.