Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced today that all private employers in New York City must require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The mandate—which will take effect on December 27—is estimated to apply to approximately 184,000 NYC businesses. Employers with any employees in one of the five boroughs of the City (Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) must ensure that those employees have submitted proof of vaccination before coming to work on December 27. Forthcoming guidance from the City on December 15 will provide additional information, including the reasonable accommodation process. That may be little consolation to employers who will only have 12 days from issuance of the guidance to the effective date to implement a mandatory vaccination policy and reasonable accommodation process.
We expect the litigation floodgates to open, with companies, individuals, and unions all seeking to enjoin the mandate. We also expect Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to weigh in as to whether the state and not the City has authority to issue such a mandate. Another issue is whether incoming Mayor Eric Adams (D)—who takes office at the beginning of the New Year—will continue the mandate, scale it back, or eliminate it altogether. For now, however, we recommend taking steps to ensure that your employees have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, before they come to work on December 27.
We will keep you updated.