New York City is dropping its COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private-sector employees and students participating in sports and extracurricular activities, Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced Tuesday.
The rollback of the mandates, which will take effect in Nov. 1, comes as the city kick-starts a campaign to promote the COVID-19 bivalent booster shot.
“The new bivalent booster is here, providing better protection against variants we are seeing now and quite likely against variants in the future as well,” Adams said in a release from the mayor’s office.
“With so many tools now more easily accessible to keep New Yorkers safe from COVID-19, the additional flexibility we are announcing for private employers, students, and parents puts the choice back into each of their hands.”
The city had previously required private businesses to document vaccination for all employees.
Vaccines are still mandated for city workers, more than a thousand of whom were fired in February.
Vaccines have not been required for students in New York City public schools, but students over age 5 needed to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in after-school sports and "high-risk after school extracurricular activities" like musical theater, dance and band.
School mask mandates were lifted earlier this year.
The mayor’s office also announced that Adams has received his booster shot, and that ads promoting the new vaccines are slated to run in the city starting next week.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late August authorized the new bivalent booster shots, targeted at the widely circulated and more transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19.