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December 8, 2021

New York City Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Sector Employees


On Monday, December 6, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the “first-in-the-nation” COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all private sector employees in New York City. All private sector employees, regardless of the industry or company size, must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 27, 2021. The mandate will impact about 184,000 businesses.

The mandate does not permit employees to undergo COVID-19 testing in lieu of receiving a vaccine dose; however, employees who have a legitimate basis may claim a religious or medical exemption/reasonable accommodation.

The city has not yet provided further details about the mandate but, on December 15, will issue guidance elaborating on its enforcement and implementation, as well as reasonable accommodations, and also provide resources for small businesses.

Incoming NYC Mayor Eric Adams, who will take office on January 1, 2022, will ultimately decide whether to enforce the mandate, though Mr. Adams’ stance on the mandate is currently unknown.

In addition, we anticipate legal challenges to the mandate. On Tuesday December 7, 2021, a New York Supreme Court judge temporarily blocked a similar mandate for New York City (public) employees from going into effect and scheduled a hearing on December 14.

Arnold & Porter will continue to monitor any new developments and provide updates as soon as new guidance is issued.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2021 All Rights Reserved. This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.