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NYC releases vaccine rules for private businesses

December 15, 2021 Associated Press
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says levying penalties will be a last resort under a sweeping mandate requiring nearly all private-sector businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace.

The city released more detailed rules Wednesday on the mandate, which requires workers at roughly 184,000 businesses to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 27.

Employers have to verify and keep a record of each worker’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Workers who have only gotten one shot will have to get a second one within 45 days. Companies must display a sign affirming they are complying with the rule “in a conspicuous location.”

Businesses that refuse to comply could face fines starting at $1,000. But de Blasio said the city’s approach will focus on educating and working with employers.

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“The goal is not to penalize,” de Blasio said at a briefing for reporters. “The goal is to simply make this work.”

The Democratic mayor announced the mandate, the most sweeping vaccine mandate of any state or big city in the U.S., earlier this month.

The new rules will cover private places where work is performed in the presence of another worker or a member of the public. That includes not only stores, but shared work spaces and taxis, according to requirements released by the city.

Businesses are not required to discipline or fire non-compliant workers, but they must keep them out of the workplace. Workers seeking an accommodation on religious grounds can come to work while their request is pending.

“I do not expect people to be losing their jobs because we have a body of evidence that shows that people … when it’s really the moment of truth, they make the decision to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said.

Vaccinations are already required in the city for hospital and nursing home workers and for city employees, including teachers, police officers and firefighters. The city also has enacted a vaccination requirement for dining indoors at a restaurant, going to a gym or seeing a show.

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