FLATBUSH, Brooklyn — New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams on Tuesday postponed his upcoming inauguration ceremony at Kings Theater in Brooklyn as COVID cases spike across the city.
The indoor ceremony was set to be held on Jan. 1 in conjunction with the inaugurations of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who begins his first full term, and incoming Comptroller Brad Lander.
The decision to hold the ceremony at Kings Theater instead of City Hall, where it’s traditionally held, was meant to celebrate the three citywide leaders who each hail from Brooklyn.
Adams had initially said the indoor event would be ticketed, with invites sent to family members, community leaders and “a diverse group of New Yorkers.” The theater seats 3,000 people.
In a joint statement, the three politicians conceded that the city is faced with a “formidable opponent” in omicron, which poses a serious risk to public health.
“After consulting with public health experts, we have decided that our joint inauguration ceremony will be postponed to a later date in order to prioritize the health of all who were planning to attend, cover, and work on this major event,” the statement said.
A new date for the ceremony was not mentioned in the statement.
“We thank the Kings Theatre for their interest in hosting this exciting moment in our city’s history, and everyone who has been working hard to plan this celebration. We look forward to getting together in person with our loved ones, colleagues, and well-wishing New Yorkers to honor this great democratic tradition, and to thank all those who have made it possible, at a safer time in the weeks ahead.
“Health and safety must come first. We encourage all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, get boosted, and get tested. That is our pathway out of this pandemic, and we will come out of it together,” the statement said.
The announcement came as the city grapples with another wave of COVID-19 infections as the highly transmssible omicron variant rapidly spreads. Omicron is now the dominant variant in the United States, overtaking the delta variant, and is believed to be the cause of about 90% of new infections in the New York area.
Record-breaking daily new case numbers in New York City prompted a swift response from city officials and the entertainment industry. Several Broadways shows have canceled or suspended performances and the Rockettes ended their holiday season early as the city scrambled to open more testing sites to ease long lines with Christmas just days away.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday was expected to detail additional steps his administration will take to combat omicron this winter, including the distribution of 500 million free rapid tests, increased support for hospitals under strain and an emphasis on vaccination and boosting efforts.
This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.