On December 6, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all private-sector employers in the City. Under the mandate of the Department of Health, New York City businesses, regardless of size, must ensure that employees who work in-person receive at least one dose of the vaccine by December 27, 2021. According to the website for the Mayor’s office, the City will issue “additional enforcement and reasonable accommodation guidance” on December 15th “along with additional resources to support small businesses with implementation.”

This is not the City’s first vaccine mandate. In the last several months, the City imposed vaccine mandates on municipal workers, and employees and patrons of indoor dining, entertainment venues and gyms. Also on December 6th, Mayor de Blasio announced that the pre-existing mandate, known as the Key to New York Pass, will be expanded to require children ages 5 to 11 to show proof of at least one vaccination dose to patronize indoor dining, entertainment venues and gyms beginning on December 14, 2021. Additionally, starting on December 27, 2021, people ages 12 and older will be required to show proof that they have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to enter these facilities.

While we await the release of further guidance, employers should begin working to update their existing policies to account for the enforcement of the expanded vaccine mandate to employees and, in some instances, customers. This should include a process for receiving and reviewing requests for exemptions or reasonable accommodations from the mandate.

If you have questions concerning this expanded mandate or how to revise your company’s policies, please contact Jessica M. Baquet at (516) 393-8292 or jbaquet@jaspanllp.com.