Mayor Eric Adams is officially ending COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private-sector employees and student athletes in public schools — but not for city workers.
The private-sector mandate will be phased out Nov. 1, while the end of the student athlete requirement is effective immediately, Adams revealed Tuesday.
But he offered little explanation for why vaccine mandates were still required for city workers, including teachers and cops.
Instead, Adams defended his vaccine requirements throughout the pandemic, saying: “I don’t think anything dealing with COVID makes sense, and there’s no (one) logical pathway.”
“You make decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating. By taking the vaccine, we were able to keep the city open,” Adams added as he received his booster shot.
“That is what we are — if there’s something’s going to change, we’re going to announce it.”
Hizzoner said his legal team had reviewed the shifting requirements for private but not public workers — and they are “in complete compliance with the law.”
He added that phasing out the requirement for some “is no indication that we don’t believe boosters are important, and vaccinations are important.”
Still, the push to phase out the mandate for non-city workers only sparked immediate backlash from police unions and some teachers, who blasted it as “fundamentally irrational.”
“Now that the city has abandoned any pretense of a public health justification for vaccine mandates, we expect it to settle our pending lawsuits and reinstate with back pay our members who unjustly lost their jobs,” Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said in a statement.
“Today’s City Hall announcement dropping the vaccine mandate for only the private-sector workforce is irrational pseudoscience. Let’s be real, the mayor knows that people aren’t avoiding the return to their office because of the mandate — it’s fear of the city’s crime crisis,” Detectives’ Endowment Association president Paul DiGiacomo added.
The United Federation of Teachers, meanwhile, threw its support behind the mayor’s message that vaccination has kept millions of New Yorkers healthy and safe, and encouraged the jab and boosters.
Since the public-sector mandate took effect last October under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Big Apple has fired more than 2,600 municipal workers who are not fully vaccinated.
That includes 850 public school teachers and classroom aides terminated this back-to-school season for not getting the jab.
New York City students have never been required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend classes. But those without the jab have been barred for more than a year from participating in extracurricular activities deemed “high risk” — from sports to chorus and band. Those rules did not apply to in-school activities, like gym or music classes.
Roughly 43% of kids under 17 are fully vaccinated, according to city data. Less than half of elementary school-age kids have received both doses.
Vaccine rates in the city schools also vary by borough and race or ethnicity — with schools in Manhattan and with a majority of Asian students seeing the highest figures, according to a recent study.
“This is great news for the kids,” said Danielle McGuire, who taught special education for 23 years in Far Rockaway, Queens — but did not show proof of vaccination by this school year’s deadline.
“However, some of the kids in our schools have parents that work — or worked — for New York City. Think about their torment,” she said.
McGuire, who most recently taught fifth grade at P.S. 42, added that most city workers who were terminated or placed on leave worked in person during the pandemic before the vaccine was available.
“We had no qualms about going in and teaching in person,” she said. “All we want to do is go back to our jobs.”
Christopher Florio, a recently retired crime scene detective with the NYPD, told The Post there shouldn’t have been a mandate in the first place.
“I finally achieved the greatest rank achievement I could get — first grade,” said Florio, who left this summer after his requests for medical and religious exemptions were denied. “And I had no intention of leaving. I figured ‘oh, maybe I’ll do 30 years.’”
Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said the mandates were instituted to collectively push people to get vaccinated.
“I think it’s important to not see any of these decisions in isolation. I know they get reported on in isolation, but they’re all connected,” Vasan said.
A vaccine requirement remains in place for school visitors — including parents and prospective families considering enrollment in the schools, a spokesperson for the city health department confirmed Tuesday. He did not provide a timeline for phasing that policy out.
GOP Councilman Joe Borelli said he met with the health commissioner about the different rules for municipal versus other workers, but no rational answer was ever given.
“We asked the commissioner in private, and now he was asked in public,” Borelli told The Post. “Neither time resulted in any rational answer, never mind one good enough to fire people over.”
The axing of the vaccine mandate came on the heels of a meeting between Adams and the NYC Council Common Sense Caucus led by Borelli.
“After a constructive meeting with our caucus two weeks ago, we are very pleased Mayor Adams has decided to remove COVID vaccine mandates that have been hurting our businesses, hampering our city’s economic recovery and preventing our children from fully participating in sports and after school activities,” read a statement.
The caucus said it would also work toward ending the public sector mandate and bringing back city workers on leave or fired for not complying.