February 6, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 37

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February 03, 2023

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New York City Announces a Vaccine Mandate for All Private Employers

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that will apply to all private employers in New York City.  The Mayor announced the mandate as a “first in the nation measure,” and a “preemptive strike” in response to challenges posed by the new Omicron variant, colder weather, and holiday gatherings.  The mandate will apply to all private employers in New York City and becomes effective December 27, 2021.  While the Mayor did confirm at a press conference that there will not be a test-out option, the mandate will apply to only in-office workers, and that employees need to get their first dose by December 27th, the details of the mandate otherwise remain vague at this time and will not be released until December 15th, leaving employers little time to prepare to come into compliance. 

In a press release on December 6th, the Mayor confirmed that the mandate will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses – those that are not already covered by the Key to NYC initiative (e.g., fitness, dining and entertainment venues).  Importantly, the press release explains that the City will issue additional enforcement and reasonable accommodation guidance on December 15th, along with additional resources to support small businesses with implementation. 

Many have noted that the mandate would go into effect just days before Mayor-Elect Eric Adams takes office.  When asked whether he would enforce the new mandate, a spokesperson for Mayor-Elect Adams did not answer definitively, stating instead that the Mayor-Elect intends to “evaluate this mandate and other Covid strategies when he is in office and make determinations based on science, efficacy and the advice of health professionals.”

It is also worth noting that this announcement comes on the heels of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to block OSHA from implementing its federal vaccination or test rule, which we reported on here.  The fate of OSHA’s vaccine rule now lies with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was selected to make a consolidated ruling on the mandate given that challenges to the rule were filed in multiple jurisdictions.  While the Sixth Circuit’s decision will impact OSHA’s ability to mandate the vaccine on a national level, it will have little impact on the viability of New York City’s mandate or its impact on private employers within the City, although we would expect challenges to NYC’s new rule as well.

©1994-2023 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 341

About this Author

Michael S. Arnold, Mintz Levin Law Firm, Labor Law Attorney
Member / Chair, Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice

Michael Arnold is Chair of the firm's Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice.  He is an employment lawyer who deftly handles a wide array of matters. His capabilities include counseling on everyday HR life cycle issues, defending management and senior executives in connection with employment-related proceedings, and assisting companies navigate the complex employment issues that arise in transactions.  Michael’s clients appreciate his strong emphasis on providing not just legal advice, but also practical advice, that aligns with organizational and HR strategies while...


Evan litigates a wide array of employment disputes before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies. Evan has experience handling matters at all phases of the litigation process and also assists clients in resolving their disputes through mediation and settlement.

Evan’s practice also includes advising clients on a range of issues, including compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws as well as drafting and negotiating employment agreements.

Prior to joining Mintz, Evan was an associate...