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New York City Announces First of its Kind Private Sector COVID-19 Mandate (US)

On Monday, December 6, 2021, New York City’s outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced a “first-in-the-nation” COVID-19 vaccine mandate, requiring that all private sector employees working in person in New York City receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The mandate, which Mayor de Blasio described as a “pre-emptive strike” against COVID, goes into effect on December 27, 2021 and will apply to employees working for approximately 184,000 private sector employers in New York City.  Unlike the federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, as of now, New York City’s mandate will have no testing option, meaning NYC employees cannot opt to receive weekly COVID-19 tests as an alternative to receiving the vaccine.

The NYC mandate has faced criticism from some of the City’s largest employers, who were “blindsided” by the surprise announcement, allegedly made without coordination or consultation with the business community.

On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, New York Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo issued an order temporarily staying the enforcement of New York City’s vaccine mandate for municipal workers pending a hearing, scheduled for December 14, on the mandate’s legality.  The municipal vaccine mandate was announced on October 20, 2021 and applied to over 160,000 of the City’s municipal workers.  Similar lawsuits challenging New York City’s private-sector employee mandate are expected.  The City has promised to issue further guidance on the rule by December 15.

Mayor de Blasio also announced two major expansions to the “Key to NYC” COVID-19 vaccine mandate program, which currently requires all employees and patrons (including non-resident visitors) aged 12 and older to provide proof of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to access indoor dining, fitness, entertainment and performance venues in New York City..

  • First, effective December 14, children aged 5-11 will be required to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to access these venues.

  • Second, effective December 27, all patrons aged 12 and older (resident and non-resident alike) will be required to show proof of two vaccine doses instead of one in order to access these venues, with the exception of . individuals who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

© Copyright 2022 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 342
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About this Author

Katharine Liao Employment Attorney Squire Patton Boggs New York, NY
Partner

Katharine Liao represents employers in the retail, entertainment, technology and healthcare industries in all aspects of employment-related litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Resident in the firm’s New York office, her practice is global with a particular emphasis and extensive experience with California and New York wage and hour class action litigation.

Having defeated class certification on multiple occasions, Katharine focuses her practice on defending wage-and-hour class actions involving claims of meal...

212-872-9804
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