New York City’s mayor-elect on Friday explained what he meant when he said he wanted to “revisit” the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers.
“We need to revisit how we’re going to address the vaccine mandates,” Adams said during a cable TV appearance on Wednesday.
Adams said he would encourage Mayor Bill de Blasio to talk with unions as the parties attempted to reach an agreement on how applications for exemptions and other details were handled.
“Here’s an opportunity for him to bring about a resolution and when I inherit this situation, I’m going to bring about a resolution,” he added.
The comments left some expressing optimism that Adams would ease the mandate, which is among the harshest in the nation.
Appearing on CNN on Nov. 5, Adams was asked about what he meant.
Adams first hailed de Blasio being able to hammer out deals with four major unions before stressing the importance of having conversations with union leaders. He also indicated he could change how people who claim religious exemptions are treated.
“One area I would look at, if you have a parent who has had the ability not to have a vaccine for any of their children because of religious observations, we cannot all of a sudden change that rule,” he said.
“If that is a consistency that this parent had for over 20-something years, then we have to respect that now, even with the [COVID] vaccine now, and those are the areas I want to drill in and make sure that we continue with the success that we have witnessed,” he added.
Host Wolf Blitzer wondered why the mandate would be altered at all, given that vaccination rates have increased to 92 percent among city workers since it was imposed.
“Because we are successful in it, and that’s why we could revisit, and make sure we get 100 percent. What’s stopping the next 8 percent? Let’s find out,” Adams said. “If we don’t sit down and really dig into what’s stopping that last 8 percent, we’re not going to reach our goal.”
The Democrat acknowledged some portion of New York workers may continue to resist getting a COVID-19 vaccine but expressed hope in getting at least three-quarters of the unvaccinated vaccinated.
Adams, who easily won the election to succeed the term-limited de Blasio, also said that the rule that led to the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving not playing so far this season would not be changed.
“New York City is not going to change their rule,” he said.
Irving, who remains unvaccinated, is not allowed to play in the Nets’ home games because of the city’s mandate. The team is preventing him from playing away games because of the situation.