New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is the latest Democratic leader of a major city to hint that he may impose a mandate requiring patrons who want to dine inside a restaurant to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, de Blasio admitted that “all options are on the table” when it comes to dealing with the spread of the delta variant of the virus, which is reportedly very contagious but which also does not appear to be nearly as deadly as the original strain, based on independent reporting and analysis of posted data.
The mayor told the cable news outlet that the variant is now responsible for some 72 percent of new COVID cases in his city.
“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,” said de Blasio.
“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,” he continued.
De Blasio’s comments come on the heels of several initiatives and policies he introduced earlier in the week to try and convince more New Yorkers to get the jab in a city that once was the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
Also, NYC employees have been ordered to either get a COVID vaccine by Sept. 13 or be subjected to a test every week, a rule that is similar to one introduced for state employees in New York and California, as well as for federal workers.
Private entities are also beginning to mandate the vaccine. They include notable restaurant groups Union Square Hospitality Group and Broadway saying that only customers and staff who are vaccinated can come through the doors.
“Given everything we’re learning about the delta variant, all options are on the table,” de Blasio told CNN.
He also hinted that soon, restaurant and other business customers could be required to show that they have gotten the vaccine. He said that the New York City Health Department has the authority to implement such requirements during a time of public emergency, the Daily Mail reported.
But de Blasio also said that “tougher and tougher measures” are a possibility as well in the near future as he and other city officials come to understand that incentivizing getting the vaccine only works to a point.
“We’ve tried incentives for months and months,” he said, adding: “We’ve tried being communicative and open and compassionate, and all that was good, but we need something also tough at this point.”
“We’re climbing the ladder in terms of more mandates, tougher and tougher measures to make sure people are vaccinated,” the mayor added, without elaborating.
De Blasio went on to praise Danny Meyer, head of the Union Square Hospitality Group, for taking the position that customers and employees alike would have to be vaccinated.
Meyer said that all of his restaurant staff in NYC and Washington, D.C., had until Sept. 7 to get the jab or they’ll be let go. Customers will have to show proof of vaccination.
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