Mayor Adams isn’t enforcing the city vaccine mandate that his predecessor Mayor Bill de Blasio put on private businesses last year, opting instead to focus on education.
“We have been focused on prioritizing education instead of enforcement when it comes to the private sector mandate, which is how we’ve been able to get more than 87 percent of all New Yorkers with their first dose to date,” Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy said.
City Hall’s stance is to completely refrain from issuing fines to private employers who are out of compliance, as first reported by Newsday. This approach is a reversal from de Blasio, whose order requiring businesses to ensure employees be vaccinated took effect on Dec. 27, just days before Adams took office.
During the time it was in effect under de Blasio, from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31, only 31% of the more than 3,000 businesses that were inspected by the city had followed the order, Levy said.
Before taking office, Adams said he’d keep the mandate in place, but his administration also signaled at the time that it wouldn’t focus on punishment.
He doubled down on that approach after it became public that the city hasn’t issued fines to violators. Under the mandate, fines can start at $1,000 and compound for subsequent violations.
“We always said we didn’t want to penalize, we wanted to educate. It’s been winning. Our numbers are dropping, numbers are increasing of people going back to work, our economy is moving forward,” Adams said Wednesday. “I had a duality here. I wanted to do the right thing so we don’t spin backwards in COVID, but at the same time, I wanted our economy to come back. That’s crucial.”