NEW YORK — New York City Councilman and soon-to-be Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine spoke with the PIX11 Morning News on Tuesday, Dec. 7 about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new vaccine mandate for private sector employers.
Levine confirmed that the mandates are legally sound and said that while they will likely be challenged in court, he believes those challenges will lose.
However, legal challenges could delay the start of the mandate, which would push them into January, when Mayor-elect Eric Adams takes power.
“This is gonna fall on the next mayor, Eric Adams, to implement and defend,” Levine agreed. “He has said clearly that he wants to follow the science, so I’m optimistic that he will support this,” he added.
Levine also said he believes the new workplace vaccine mandate is enough to push the majority of the 10% or so of adults in New York City who haven’t been vaccinated to get their first shot.
De Blasio also announced an update to the Key to NYC plan, which will require New Yorkers ages 5 to 11 to show proof of at least one vaccine shot to get into restaurants and indoor entertainment by mid December. Plus, those 12 and older will need to show proof of full vaccination by late December to enjoy indoor dining and entertainment.
Levine said the main issue is there is currently a “very low” vaccination rate among kids in New York City, citing that only about 20% of young kids have gotten their first shot.
He noted that the reason restaurants are coming back is because people feel safe in restaurants due to the mayor’s proof of vaccination requirement.
“You have the comfort of knowing everyone who is sitting near you is also vaccinated,” Levine said.
He said he feels the update will, in the long run, only benefit the sector and ensure kids and families are safe.
As far as boosters and people having trouble booking quick appointments for the additional shot, Levine said, “this is a problem.”
While there is enough supply of the booster doses, Levine said there is not enough capacity to deliver the shots quickly.
The councilman believes we need to expand the hours, the staffing and number of venues where the booster is being offered.
“This is going to be one of the best strategies to protect against omicron,” Levine said.