New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has hinted he may issue a vaccine mandate for all New Yorkers wanting to dine inside a restaurant.
De Blasio told CNN on Friday that ‘all options are on the table’ when it comes to trying to tackle the spread of the Delta variant which now accounts for 72 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the Big Apple.
‘What’s going to happen, bluntly, is that folks who are vaccinated are going to be able to experience all the things that they love in the life of this city and this country,’ he said.
‘And the folks who are not vaccinated are going to find that too many things that they want to do, they can’t do unless they’re vaccinated. That has to be the reality because people will respond to that.’
This week, the mayor has rolled out a number of new policies and incentives in an effort to encourage more people to take the shot in what was once the virus epicenter of the world.
City employees are now required to either get a vaccine by September 13 or take a test every week – a rule similar to that introduced for government workers in New York state, California and the federal government.
Meanwhile, private businesses have already started taking matters into their own hands, with famed restaurant group Union Square Hospitality Group and Broadway announcing that only vaccinated staff and customers are welcome back through their doors.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hinted on CNN Friday he may issue a vaccine mandate for all New Yorkers wanting to dine inside a restaurant
De Blasio mulled the possibility that customers will soon be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to dine inside a restaurant, pointing out that the city’s Health Department has the power to roll out such rules during a time of public emergency.
‘Given everything we’re learning about the delta variant, all options are on the table,’ he said.
The mayor warned that ‘tougher and tougher measures’ could be on the horizon after efforts to increase the vaccine uptake with incentives has only gone so far.
‘We’ve tried incentives for months and months. We’ve tried being communicative and open and compassionate, and all that was good, but we need something also tough at this point,’ he said.
‘We’re climbing the ladder in terms of more mandates, tougher and tougher measures to make sure people are vaccinated.’
De Blasio praised the action taken by the Union Square Hospitality Group and its boss Danny Meyer for already introducing a vaccine mandate for staff and patrons.
Meyer, who is one of the Big Apple’s most renowned restaurateurs, announced Thursday that all staff must at his NYC and Washington DC restaurants must be vaccinated by September 7.
Workers have 45 days to get the shot or find a new job, he said.
All customers who want to eat or drink inside the group’s various restaurants must also show proof of vaccination.
The Union Square Hospitality Group includes famed NYC spots such as Gramercy Tavern, The Modern and Union Square Cafe.
De Blasio (pictured dining indoors at Hwa Yuan Szechuan in Manhattan) said ‘all options are on the table’ when it comes to trying to tackle the spread of the Delta variant which now accounts for 72 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the Big Apple
Pictured a customer shows a proof of vaccination to enter City Winery Thursday in NYC
Meyer also set up burger chain Shake Shack but the requirements do not apply to its sites.
De Blasio’s office said Thursday it ‘supported and encouraged’ Meyer’s move, calling it the ‘path forward’ for the city.
However, the mayor has not shown as much enthusiasm to reintroduce a mask mandate in the city.
‘The main event is vaccination. Masks can be helpful,’ he said.
City Councilman Mark Levine is calling on de Blasio to introduce mask mandates in NYC again
‘We’re going to delineate to New Yorkers the best way to use masks. They don’t change the basic reality. Vaccination does.
‘So what we want to make sure is everything we do supports vaccination.’
He added: ‘The whole ballgame is vaccinations.’
The CDC backpedaled on its mask guidance Tuesday, recommending even fully vaccinated Americans return to wearing masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates.
Some officials are calling on de Blasio to follow this guidance and introduce mask mandates in public places in New York City again.
‘Mounting evidence that people who are vax’d, while well protected, can still spread,’ City Councilman Mark Levine tweeted Friday.
‘And still NY City & State have not updated mask guidance *SINCE MAY*. We’re letting the virus outrun us yet again. Stunning.’
Famed restaurant group Union Square Hospitality Group which includes Gramercy Tavern (above) has already said it will only allow fully vaccinated staff and patrons inside its restaurants
An Instagram post shows Gramercy Tavern reopened for indoor dining with a server in a mask
De Blasio said health officials are looking into the matter and will announce any update next week.
At present, fully vaccinated New Yorkers are still required to wear masks on public transport.
De Blasio issued his new vaccine policy Monday for all city employees, mandating they either get the vaccine or face weekly testing.
Danny Meyer (pictured) said staff have 45 days to get the jab
This was an expansion of an existing requirement for just requiring Health and Human Services and those in ‘congregate and residential settings’ to get vaccinated or take a test each week.
Workers now covered by the policy include those that work for the Department of Education and the New York Police Department.
De Blasio also said that the unvaccinated will be required to wear masks at all times indoors and that anyone who refuses to wear a mask may be put on leave.
The mayor also announced a new incentive Wednesday to sweeten the pot by offering $100 to any city resident who gets a first dose of a vaccine at a city-run site.
New York City and the state have already offered vaccination incentives including lottery tickets, scholarships, free subway rides and complimentary tickets to museums, sports games and other attractions.
On Thursday, the city also announced that a major concert starring the Wu-Tang Clan and Bruce Springsteen to celebrate the city’s recovery from the pandemic will also only be available to full-vaccinated attendees.
With organizations, businesses and governments introducing vaccine policies for both their staff and customers in recent days, unvaccinated Americans will soon be unable to attend numerous events and places.
Broadway and this year’s Emmy awards both announced Friday that only vaccinated guests can attend, with NYC theatergoers also ordered to wear masks for shows.
All performers, backstage crew and theater staff will also have to be vaccinated, the Broadway League said in a statement.
Broadway’s rules will be in place through October and will apply to all of the district’s 41 theaters.
Masks will be required except while eating or drinking in designated locations, the Broadway League added.
The body said it would make exceptions for children under 12 – a group not currently eligible for vaccines – and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. Those guests must provide proof of a negative test to get in.
Guests attending Springsteen on Broadway – which re-started on June 26, and runs until September 4 – must already show proof of vaccination to enter but they do not have to wear a mask.
Meanwhile, Emmys organizers the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said only ‘fully vaccinated’ people will be able to attend its three ceremonies scheduled for September 11, 12 and 19.
Anti-vaccine mandate protesters outside the Walter Kerr Theater in June after it was announced that only jabbed customers could attend Bruce Springsteen’s residency. Broadway also announced this week that only vaccinated guests can attend
Game of Thrones’ cast accepts the Outstanding Drama Series award onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards in 2019. Emmys organizers the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said only ‘fully vaccinated’ people will be able to attend its three ceremonies in September
That means stars hoping to take home an award must have had their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna shot at least 14 days beforehand, to ensure they have maximum protection from potential infection.
It is unclear if the Emmys will also expect guests to wear masks.
Other businesses and industries keen to avoid an outbreak that could force them to shut once again are also introducing vaccine mandates for workers and customers.
Facebook and Google were the latest companies this week to announce they will require their employees get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to in-person work, joining the likes of BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lyft and Netflix.
Meanwhile, both New York state and California announced policies requiring employees to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.
And, on a federal level, Joe Biden announced Thursday a series of new measures to try to boost vaccination rates.
President Joe Biden said Thursday federal government workers must either get vaccinated or face strict protocols
He issued a new policy for federal government workers, requiring all staffers and on-site contractors to either get vaccinated or face strict protocols.
These include weekly or twice weekly testing, wearing a face mask, social distancing from other employees and visitors and being subject to restrictions on official travel.
Biden also would not rule out a national mandate, saying: ‘It’s still a question of whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don’t know that yet.’
Officials are hoping the mandates will incentivize more Americans to get the shot with the Delta variant spreading and cases rising.
The Biden administration has termed the renewed outbreak a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as the vast majority of cases, deaths and hospitalizations are among people who have refused the shot.
Now, 57 percent of Americans have had at least one dose while 49 percent are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.
On Wednesday, the US recorded 68,771 new cases with a seven-day rolling average of 63,842, which is a 322 percent increase from the 15,126 average recorded three weeks ago.
Some U.S. employers are requiring workers to get vaccinated, while others are offering incentives to encourage shots
City of New York
Delta Air Lines (for new employees)
Saks Fifth Avenue
State of California
State of New York
United Airlines (for new employees)
The Washington Post Co.
OFFERING INCENTIVES FOR EMPLOYEES TO GET VACCINES:
ALDI groceries (Paid time off and adjusted hours to get vaccinated)
Amazon ($100 bonus for workers who show proof of vaccination on first day of employment)
Amtrak (two hours of bonus pay and excused absence)
American Airlines (additional paid vacation day in 2022 and a $50 bonus)
Bolthouse Farms ($500 bonus with proof of vaccination or if they get shot at on-site clinic)
Chobani (up to six hours of paid time off for employees to go get vaccinated)
Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden (four hours of paid time off to cover both doses of the vaccine)
Dollar General (one-time stipend equal to four hours of paid time off)
Instacart ($25 stipend to in-store employees and independent contractors)
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s ($100 bonus)
Kroger ($100 bonus with proof of vaccination as well as $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for essential and frontline staffers)
Lidl ($200 bonus and scheduling flexibility for vaccination appointments)
McDonald’s (up to four hours of paid time off to get the vaccine)
Publix ($125 gift cards for employees who show proof of vaccination)
Starbucks (up to four hours of paid time off for vaccine dosage appointments)
Target (up to four hours of paid time off per vaccine dosage and a $30 reimbursement for using a Lyft to get to their appointment)
Trader Joe’s (additional two hours of pay for each dose and scheduling flexbility)