State Watch

New York City mayor exempts athletes, performers from vaccine mandate

Associated Press/Seth Wenig

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced Thursday he would lift COVID-19 vaccine mandates for New York-based performers, venues and athletes.

Adams’s office cited low virus case counts and a high vaccination rate as reasons for lifting the requirement. His office said the move would “kickstart the full spectrum of the city’s nightlife economy.”

The mayor framed the move as an expansion of a previous exemption from the city’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.

“Today we take another step in our city’s economic recovery — leveling the playing field for New Yorkers and supporting local businesses and performance venues across the city,” Adams said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Adams argued that previous rules put New York City sports teams at a “self-imposed competitive disadvantage” and were “unfair to New York performers.”

The issue of immunization requirements on performers and athletes drew widespread attention last year when Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving adamantly refused to get vaccinated in order to play.

Irving maintained that his decision was not politically motivated, but had more to do with bodily autonomy.

The Nets suspended Irving in October, saying he would remain suspended until he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In January, Irving returned to team practices.

With the change announced Thursday, Irving will now be allowed to play in home games again, CBS Sports reported. Irving has yet to publicly comment on the policy change.

This announcement from Adams comes just days after he announced that he was lifting the school mask mandate for children under the age of 5. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transmission in New York is currently low, meaning widespread mask use is not necessary.

Tags eric adams Kyrie Irving New York City vaccine mandates
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