NYC’s unvaccinated athletes and performers are now exempt from vaccine mandate, Adams announces

Posted On Thu, March 24, 2022 By

Posted On Thu, March 24, 2022 By In Policy

Photo by Tomas Eidsvold on Unsplash

New York City’s unvaccinated athletes and performers will be able to compete and perform at local venues under a new order reversing part of the city’s private-sector vaccine mandate. Mayor Eric Adams announced on Thursday the city will expand a current exemption that has allowed unvaccinated players and entertainers who lived outside of the city to perform or play in New York to hometown athletes and performers. The decision comes just two weeks before the start of the Major League Baseball season, allowing Yankees and Mets players who have not confirmed their vaccination status to take the field at home, as well as confirmed unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to play at the Barclays Center.

Adams on Thursday called the carve-out for unvaccinated out-of-towners a double standard and a disadvantage to New York City-based performers and professional athletes.

“By expanding an existing exemption, we are simply making sure the rules apply equally to everyone who is a performer, regardless of where they are from,” Adams said. “The old exemption put our sports teams at a self-imposed competitive disadvantage and was unfair to New York performers. Now, with the city in a low-risk environment, we can keep protecting each other, as we continue to move in the right direction and deliver an equitable and inclusive economic recovery.”

During his last month in office, former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a vaccine requirement for all private-sector employers, considered to be one of the first of its kind in the country.

A mandate for all city workers has been in place since the end of last October. In February, the city fired roughly 1,430 city employees who did not get vaccinated, which represents just less than one percent of the total workforce.

Adams said on Thursday there is no plan at the moment to rehire city workers who were fired for not complying with the mandate.

“This was a challenging time for all of us,” Adams said during a press conference announcing the exemption. “I respect their frustration, I respect their anger,” he added, referring to critics that say it’s unfair the mandate still applies to all workers except professional athletes.

Adams has rolled back several restrictions put in place by his predecessor. Last month, the mayor lifted the mask requirement in public schools and the “Key to NYC” initiative, which has required proof of vaccination for entry into city restaurants, bars, gyms, and other indoor entertainment venues. On Tuesday, Adams said starting April 4 masks will be optional at schools and daycare centers for children ages two to four, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, if “levels of risk” remain low.


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