NEW YORK — With the city’s vaccination requirement — the most stringent in the country — set to go into effect in a week and-a-half, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday continued to try to clarify how it will work.
“A good analogy is restaurants and bars are responsible for carding anyone who might be underage for drinking,” de Blasio said. “This is something as an example. Obviously, restaurants and bars are responsible for health and safety standards, they know they have an obligation to the public, and they know it’s first and foremost around health and following the laws, so this will not be uncharted territory.”
The mayor also said that other cities are trying to adopt a similar requirement that would prohibit unvaccinated people from entering bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters and other indoor entertainment venues without proof of vaccination.
However, he was non-committal when it came to naming which cities.
“Out of respect for each jurisdiction and how they have to do things,” said the mayor, “I’m not going to name locations. They’ll speak for themselves.”
One big city mayor who spoke for herself on the issue did so in negative terms.
Kim Janey, of Boston, a fellow Democrat, and an African American woman, said to reporters in Boston on Wednesday, regarding a vaccination pass, that “There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers… during slavery, post-slavery.”
De Blasio responded on Thursday.
“Those statements are absolutely inappropriate. This is an idea of how to save lives,” he said.
Mayor Janey of Boston has since walked back her comments.
The vaccination pass, called the Key to NYC, is set to be implemented on Aug. 16. The city says that it will begin enforcing the Key to NYC Pass beginning Sept. 13.
Meanwhile, Thursday was supposed to be the day when the state’s HERO Act went into effect. It requires employers to set up safety plans in their workplaces against coronavirus if the virus is officially determined to be “a highly contagious, communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.”
However, the New York State Department of Health hasn’t made that designation. So on Thursday, a variety of protesters from organizations representing essential workers held a protest outside of the Dept. of Health’s offices in Lower Manhattan.
Jake Streich-Kest, of the community and labor group ALIGN NY, which organized the protest, said it did so because it needs the state to take action.
“It’s deeply hypocritical,” Streich-Kest said about the health department’s inaction. “It’s denying reality. The facts are facts, Covid is real. We need to treat it seriously.”
The Dept. of Health has not responded to PIX11 News’ request for comment.