Mayor-elect Eric Adams plans to make a decision this spring on whether to mandate vaccines for New York City public school students starting in Fall 2022, according to a newly released outline of his COVID-19 policies.
Adams’ one-page plan also states that he will keep Mayor Bill de Blasio’s private sector vaccine mandate that took effect Monday with a “focus on compliance, not punishment” — an approach similar to the outgoing mayor’s promise city inspectors will “ideally avoid penalties.”
“We’re going to keep that in place,” Adams said during a press conference in Brooklyn Borough Hall. “The goal is to be cooperative and not punitive.”
The next mayor had previously not expressed a definitive stance on the policy.
The city will “immediately study” if that mandate, along with other city vaccine requirements, will need to be updated to include obligatory booster doses in lieu of two vaccine shots, according to Adams’ winter coronavirus agenda passed out to reporters Thursday morning.
“We are at a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic,” said Adams as he released the blueprint Thursday morning.
Asked about allowing city employees to work remotely, Adams signaled openness to it amid an Omicron-driven surge in coronavirus cases, but added, “We’re at the point where we must safely learn to live with COVID.”
“We’re going to do that by ensuring people return to work in a safe way,” he said, noting he wants municipal workers back at their desk when cases subside.
Additionally, the next mayor announced the city will distribute 2 million high-quality masks like KN95s, 1 million more at-home tests to children and that de Blasio’s test-to-stay plan for public school students exposed to COVID-19 will be carried out.
The plan notes that “all other current mandates” that de Blasio put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 will remain in effect.
“We believe this administration has done a good job in addressing the virus,” Adams said, adding that he hopes to “improve on communication” on the matter when he takes over.
Adams, currently the Brooklyn borough president, will take over for de Blasio at midnight Friday.
After rolling out a series of COVID-19-prevention measures, Adams took an early afternoon walking tour of the Theater District, where he posed for photos on the Times Square red steps and extolled the virtues of the Big Apple’s entertainment and nightlife industry.
“You have a mayor that supports you, you have a mayor that attends Broadway plays,” he said. “Our nightlife employs thousands of people”
“Just do one thing for me: spend money,” he quipped to tourists visiting from Cooperstown during his stroll.