Breaking Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he has put a vaccine mandate into place for all private-sector employers. The Mayor is citing a theoretical winter surge of COVID and the Omicron variant; something we know virtually nothing about, but has not shown to be as dangerous as its predecessors.
“We’ve got omicron as a new factor, we’ve got the colder weather, which is really going to create additional challenges with the delta variant, we’ve got holiday gatherings,” de Blasio said in an interview with MSNBC Monday morning.
“We in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of Covid and the dangers it’s causing to all of us” added de Blasio. The mandate will take effect December 27 and requires all workers in private companies in New York City to “present proof of vaccination as a condition of employment” reports National Review.
Additionally, “after imposing a vaccine mandate for those who patronize leisure businesses such as restaurants and movie theaters a few months ago, de Blasi expanded that order Monday to include children aged five to eleven a demographic recently approved to receive the shot” adds National Review.
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Freedom in the UK: Johnson ends ‘all Covid measures’ including mask wearing
The United Kingdom is enjoying a huge announcement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “the end of all Covid measures introduced to combat the Omicron variant – compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates – from next week” reports The Guardian.
For those with coronavirus, the legal requirement for them to self-isolate will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24. Johnson also announced an immediate end for students to wear masks at secondary schools.
“From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas,” Johnson told the Commons.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
The Prime Minister said Covid data was “showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right” and that plan B rules that were put in place in December could all be lifted from next Thursday, the day after a pre-existing review point.
The Guardian notes Britain had expected Johnson would soon be ending work-from-home guidance and the mandate to show a certificate proving vaccination or proof of a recent negative Covid test. However, the immediate lifting of mandatory mask rules will “come as a surprise to some.”
Johnson is receiving some push back from some teaching and health unions. The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said ministers would “regret sending the wrong signal to the public for political expediency”.
Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Mary Bousted said, “While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue. Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate.”
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