NEW YORK — After months of pressure, Mayor Eric Adams is from the city’s workplace vaccine mandate.
That means Nets fans could soon see Kyrie Irving play home games and the news came down right before Major League Baseball starts its new season, CBS2’s John Dias reported Thursday.
Adams said the exemptions take effect immediately, regardless of the performers’ and players’ COVID vaccine status.
“Currently, only non-resident are exempt under this executive order. We are expanding it to residents of New York City,” Adams said at a press conference at Citi Field.
It is a considerable reversal from his original position of honoring a de Blasio administration rule requiring COVID vaccines in the workplace.
Adams is changing it up because of a technicality which allowed visiting players and performers to go on in our city even if they are unvaccinated. Now, star players like Irving can play at home.
“Unimaginable. We were treating our performers different because they live and play for home teams. It’s not acceptable. This exemption has been putting our sports teams at a self-imposed disadvantage, but this new order would help boost our economy,” Adams said.
The mayor said the emphasis on getting vaccine shots and boosters will continue for all New Yorkers, including performers and athletes.
“Let’s be clear about this. I have said it and I will continue to say it — all of us should be vaccinated, even our players,” Adams said. “We’ll continue to promote vaccinations and booster shots. It’s imperative that we do so. That’s how we got here. That’s why we have an NBA season, because of the vaccinations. Over 90 percent of the players did so and I’m hoping we’ll reach the 100 percent numbers in Major League Baseball, basketball, and other professional sports. We will continue to hope and push vaccinations and booster shots.”
Some sports fans were clearly happy to hear the news about the exemption.
“After Harden went to Philly, the team dropped down. I’m excited for Kyrie,” said fan Kelsey Forjan of College Point.
“It’s about time. We gotta get back to regular life,” added Kirk Inniss of College Point.
But not all were pleased by the change of policy.
“You weren’t voted in by professional athletes. You were voted in by the citizens of the city,” Joanne Lopez said.
The new exemption leaves behind unvaccinated city employees, like teachers and first responders who still need the vaccine to work. Many protested the mandate, but nearly 1,500 people were fired.
The president of the Police Benevolent Association said, in part, “If the mandate isn’t necessary for famous people, then it’s not necessary for the cops who are protecting our city in the middle of a crime crisis.”
City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli said he believes there has to be one set of rules for all people.
“The truth is, there is a whole different level of problems when we set up two classes of people, people who play on the basketball court versus the people who sell the hotdogs,” Borelli said.
Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani and former New York City mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa are now joining forces to call on Adams to lift the vaccine mandate for everyone working in the city.
Others are questioning the difference between student-athletes having to be vaccinated and professional ones.
We will have much more on all of this on the CBS2 News at 5 & 6 p.m. and on our streaming service CBS News New York.