Photo Credit: Prefeitura de Pelotas / public domain / Wikimedia
COVID-19 vaccine, 2020

A mandate by New York requiring all city employees to be inoculated against COVID-19 has been temporarily blocked by Manhattan Supreme Court.


Judge Frank P. Nervo issued a stay of the October 20 order mandating all municipal employees to receive the vaccine, including NYPD, FDNY, EMS and other first responders, as well as educators.

Given the decision by the court, it is unclear whether Mayor Bill de Blasio will be able to enforce this week’s vaccine mandate on private-sector employees, especially since it takes effect on December 27, just three days before he leaves office.

There has been a major backlash in the Jewish community against the private-sector mandate, which also affects yeshivas, synagogues and Jewish nonprofit organizations.

“The business world is not in the hands of government to decide who to hire, and not to hire,” Duvi Honig, CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce pointed out. “Business is all about free trade, freedom of choice. The biggest concern is where is this going next?”

“The Mayor does not have the legal authority to issue any such mandates,” New York City Council member Kalman Yeger (Brooklyn District 44) tweeted. “I don’t know why he thinks this is a good use of his last three weeks in office, but it really isn’t.

“This will just lead to another court battle on religious freedom which New York will – once again – lose,” Yeger wrote in a second tweet.

A requirement of that mandate folded into the private sector requires children ages 5 to 11 to show proof of one vaccine dose by December 14 in order to enter restaurants, movie theaters, fitness centers and the like.

That mandate, set to take effect on December 27, requires all city residents ages 12 and up to show proof of full vaccination. All private sector workers not working remotely will have to show proof of “full vaccination” by December 27, and would apply to approximately 184,000 businesses and organizations in the city, including yeshivas and synagogues.

“I said from the very beginning, we will climb the ladder,” the mayor said in a statement when announcing the mandate. “And when we did it worked.

“It’s first in the nation,” he added. “But I hope it will be emulated all over the country because it’s time to get even tougher to end the COVID era. If we don’t get tougher on vaccination, we’re going to have COVID with us for a lot longer.”

Legal challenges to the private-sector mandate are expected.

A Staten Island-based attorney may be the first to fight the mandate in court. Attorney Louis Gelormino told WABC News that he intends to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all unvaccinated workers across New York City.

“We are going to be filing a class action lawsuit, we received dozens of calls yesterday and dozens more today, on behalf of any employee,” Gelormino said.

“Anybody that works in NYC that has a job in NYC, this could be from 16 years old to 75 years old, anybody that works in NYC that doesn’t want to get the vaccination, we are going to be filing a class action lawsuit on their behalf.”

Preliminary research from the South African Medical Research Council indicates the Omicron variant may cause less severe cases of the virus. Researchers say the virus has 50 mutations, 32 of which are in the spike protein and which make Omicron the most transmissible of any COVID-19 strain.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said Wednesday that a booster (third) shot of its COVID-19 vaccine may be necessary to protect against the new Omicron variant of the virus; however, they are already working to create a vaccine specific to Omicron.

Data from the companies’ latest research showed a booster dose increased by 25-fold the level of antibodies that fight the variant. The findings have not yet undergone scientific review.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.