Democrat New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced that he is ending school mask mandates and vaccine passports.
The mayor said that the end of many of the COVID-19 restrictions is going to happen on Monday, The New York Post reported.
“The rates are now low enough that the mandatory program is no longer needed,” the mayor said. “It’s time to open our city.”
He was asked if that meant that parades would also come back to the city this Spring and Summer when he gave a telling answer.
“We have become so boring as a city. I want to become a city of excitement. We are looking to reinstate every parade, every festival, every block party. People need to get outdoors and enjoy our city again,” he said.
The changes mean patrons at Big Apple restaurants, gyms and indoor venues — including theaters — will no longer have to show proof of vaccination in order to enter.
Individual businesses can still decide to enforce their own rules.
Children in K-12 school settings will also no longer have to don face coverings indoors.
“We want to see the faces of our children, we want to see their smiles,” the mayor said. “We want to see how happy they are. We want to see when they are feeling sad so that we can be there to comfort them.”
But it is not the end of all of the restrictions. Other protocols for schools like social distancing and daily screenings will stay in effect.
And for kids under five years of age masks will still be required because that group is not eligible for the vaccines.
“When you look at those under 5, they were more likely to be hospitalized. People wanted to say ‘let’s lift across the board’, but that’s not what the science was showing us. I know some people are concerned. I would rather people complain against me than… losing my babies in our city,” he said.
And for a Democrat mayor, one could imagine that the endorsement of the new policy by the United Federation of Teachers helped.
“Our doctors agree with the city’s medical experts that this is the right time to safely move from a mask mandate to an optional mask system,” the organization’s chief, Mike Mulgrew, said.
“Both the take-home tests and the in-school random tests showed no post-holiday spike and put the infection rate at less than 1 percent. This is the responsible, thoughtful way to make our next transition,” he said.
Dave Chokshi, the outgoing New York City Health Commissioner, said it was an “important day.”
“While this COVID-19 wave is ebbing, we can’t yet say the pandemic is ending,” the commissioner said. “We still have more work to do to ensure that even more New Yorkers are vaccinated, particularly our kids, and that all are staying up to date.”
“I believe there are jobs, there are careers, there are missions — and then there are callings,” he said as he broke down. “For me, getting to serve as New York City doctor was undoubtedly a calling. It’s been the honor of a lifetime.”