Just days before he takes office, Mayor-elect Eric Adams has laid out his COVID-19 plan for the city as the Omicron variant continues having an impact.
At a press conference held Thursday, Dec. 20, at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Adams said his goal is to not shut the city down because that could lead to an economic disaster. He plans on keeping masks and vaccine mandates in place.
“We are going to get through this,” Adams said. “New York will lead the way for this entire country to follow.”
Reports indicate that 1-in-5 New Yorkers are testing positive for COVID-19 and hospitalizations are also going up as 16% of city residents are still unvaccinated. Currently, the city has 3,178 COVID patients in hospitals with 369 in ICU.
Adams announced a six-pillar plan during the press conference that includes efforts to slow the spread, mass testing, treatment, vaccinations, support for hospitals, and improving school COVID safety.
The mayor-elect plans on keeping the current private sector vaccine mandate but said he wants to focus on compliance and not punish employees who do not follow the vaccine. Adams said unvaccinated employees need to be out of the office rather than terminated or disciplined. Adams’ administration is also looking for an updated mandate that would require booster shots.
New York City public schools are set to resume on Jan. 3. Adams floated the idea of a vaccine mandate with a decision coming in the spring. If implemented, a school vaccine mandate would take effect next school year.
In the meantime, public schools will be following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Stay Safe, Stay Open” plan, which includes doubling PCR testing in all public schools once students and teachers return to classrooms.
Rapid isolation and quarantine will be the focus on settings of high risk, including in homeless shelters, nursing homes and jails. Adams also plans to make vaccines more accessible for people living and working in high congregate settings.