Vaccine mandates: Will NYC require Covid-19 vaccine for dining? Mayor hints at coming change

Vaccine mandates: Will NYC require Covid-19 vaccine for dining? Mayor hints at coming change
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a food shelf in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, on April 14, 2020, in New York City (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

The sharp rise in Covid-19 cases fuelled by the Delta variant has got American politicians and healthcare professionals thinking. There's now an urgent need to bring restrictions in, or the nation would need to return to a full lockdown. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has hinted that vaccine mandates may be the way to go, which has predictably caused widespread concern on social media.

As the Delta variant rips across the US and the world, governments have been forced to reintroduce several measures from 2020. Recently, the CDC reintroduced its mask mandate, even for fully vaccinated individuals. The Joe Biden administration has also moved to make the vaccine mandatory for all federal employees and contractors. The NFL has moved to credit canceled games as a loss, in case of Covid-19 outbreaks, encouraging players to get their jabs. 


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Despite the very real threat posed by the Delta variant, conservatives and the GOP have continued to push back with their own measures, including the lack of any measures in Arkansas. In NYC though, it's a very different story. Guided by experts and science, Mayor de Blasio hinted that New Yorkers could face increased restrictions in the coming days. The Big Apple is currently a major hotspot for Covid-19, with a current seven-day average of 1,049 cases, up from 172 on July 4.  

People pose for a picture after getting Covid-19 vaccinations at Grand Central Terminal on May 12, 2021, in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Will vaccines be required for dining?

Mask mandates and social distancing guidelines have so far proven ineffective in combating the Delta variant, which is why De Blasio is considering a vaccine mandate. In an interview with CNN, the Mayor said, "all options are on the table" to tackle the Delta variant. He then went on to indirectly hint at vaccine mandates dictating what New Yorkers can and cannot do. "What's going to happen, bluntly, is that folks who are vaccinated are going to be able to experience all the things that they love in the life of this city and this country," he said.

De Blasio added, "And the folks who are not vaccinated are going to find that too many things that they want to do, they can't do unless they're vaccinated. That has to be the reality because people will respond to that." If you doubt whether that applies to dining, De Blasio openly praised the actions of Union Square Hospitality Group. On July 29, the CEO of Union Square Danny Meyer announced that all employees must be vaccinated by September 7 and that diners too would require proof of vaccination. 

After Meyer made that announcement, de Blasio's office put out a statement saying it "supported and encouraged" the move, and called it the "path forward" for the city. Over the past week, the Mayor has also publicly confirmed that vaccinations are "the whole ballgame". He told CNN, "The main event is vaccination. Masks can be helpful. They don't change the basic reality. Vaccination does. So what we want to make sure is everything we do supports vaccination."

A sign outside a restaurant reads "Please do not enter without a face covering" in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park on October 5, 2020, in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Like other states and cities around the world, NYC has attempted to incentivize the vaccines with offers like $100, free tickets, memberships, or gifts. However, the efforts haven't proven to be helpful enough. "We've tried incentives for months and months. We've tried being communicative and open and compassionate, and all that was good, but we need something also tough at this point," de Blasio said. He warned, "We're climbing the ladder in terms of more mandates, tougher and tougher measures to make sure people are vaccinated."

So far, the Mayor hasn't announced a public order mandating vaccines for dining but could be forced to as the GOP and conservatives continue to spread fear and misinformation, leading many to shun the shot. On social media too, people are continuing to push back against any efforts to stem the pandemic. 

People wait inside Manhattan’s Javits Center which recently opened as a COVID vaccination site on January 13, 2021, in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

'Stop playing with our medical freedom'

"Dictator Blasio wanting to be Hitler," one person tweeted in response to the news. Another said, "@BilldeBlasio the real criminals are running around lose in your city and they are not the unvaccinated ones." One user tweeted, "@BilldeBlasio go ahead and pass that mandate. Watch the outrage you’ll spark in NY. Stop playing with our medical freedom."




Other social media users have resorted to posting misinformation and fake news about the vaccine. Ultimately though, their efforts may be in vain. Data increasingly shows vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic, and governments are already gearing up for vaccine mandates. So far, Indonesia, Turkmenistan, Russia, and France have already imposed some kind of vaccine mandate on the general public. Greece, Hungary and Italy have introduced mandates for healthcare workers. It is possible the US could join, albeit in patches if people don't volunteer to help end the pandemic.

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