With concerns of a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to the new Omicron variant, a new vaccine mandate for all private-sector workers in New York City will be launched.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the measure on Monday morning, Dec. 6.
"We've got Omicron as a new factor, we've got colder weather which is really going to create additional challenges with the Delta variant, we have holiday gatherings, so we in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike," de Blasio said on MSNBC. "We are doing something bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers it's causing to all of us."
The first in the nation measure will cover private-sector employees across the board.
The measure will take effect Monday, Dec. 27, de Blasio said.
"We're going to have some other measures as well to really focus on maximizing vaccinations quickly so we can get ahead of Omicron and all the other challenges we're facing right now with COVID," de Blasio said.
Asked how the mandate will be enforced, de Blasio said, "We're going to work with the business community. We've seen a lot of cooperation so far when we put in place our mandates for indoor restaurants, indoor entertainment, indoor fitness. There were a few times where had to penalize people, but it was rare."
The Omicron variant has now been identified in 17 states, with eight cases in New York State, seven of which are in New York City, and the other on Long Island.
"We've been living with this (COVID) for almost two years," de Blasio said. "We've got to put it behind us, and vaccine mandates, from my experience, are the one thing that really breaks through.
"And every time there's been a fear the vaccines won't be effective against a new variant, guess what, vaccines have worked. That's a good track record, and let's lean into it even more."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.