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De Blasio Announces 'First in the Nation' Vaccine Mandate for All Private Employers

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday announced a vaccine mandate for all private sector employees, calling the move a “preemptive strike” against the Omicron variant, which has been described as a mild illness compared to other Covid-19 variants.

The Democrat, who is on his way out the door when his term ends in a few weeks, made the announcement during an interview on MSNBC.

"We’ve got Omicron as a new factor, we’ve got the colder weather, which is going to really create additional challenges with the Delta variant, we’ve got holiday gatherings," de Blasio said. "We in NYC have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of COVID.”

The mandate, which the mayor described as a “first in the nation measure,” will begin Dec. 27, just days before he leaves office on Jan. 1. 

He also said the city’s vaccine passport, dubbed “Key to NYC,” will be expanded to include those between the ages of 5 and 11. Individuals must use it to show proof of vaccination to enter certain indoor venues.

The move comes even as the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates have taken a number of hits in court, including his vaccine rule on private employers with 100 or more employees. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld it stay on the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine rule, prompting OSHA to suspend its implementation and enforcement of the mandate.  

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