In his most definitive statement on the city’s vaccine mandates for indoor arenas, Mayor Eric Adams told a Brooklyn press conference Wednesday that he “can’t wait” to end them, promising an announcement “in the next few weeks.”
The mandate of course has prevented Kyrie Irving from playing — or even entering — Barclays Center, relegating him to a part-time player.
Chris Sommerfeldt, the Daily News City Hall reporter, was first to tweet the news...
"Yes, and I can't wait to get it done," @NYCMayor says when asked if he has a plan for phasing out COVID vaccine mandates for indoor spaces in the city, adds that he foresees an announcement on something related to this "in the next few weeks."— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) February 23, 2022
Here’s Adams’ core comment ...
“Yes, I can’t wait to get it done... I’m not going to get ahead of the science because I’m ready to get ahead of all of this & get back to a level of normalcy. We’re moving in the right direction, We’re going to do it in a safe way.”
And the full response to a reporter’s question...
Adams comment, even with a vague timeline ... and few details, was the most definitive the new mayor has made. A week ago, he reacted to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s comment about the mandate, calling it an “oddity” that hometeam players, like Irving, are banned from playing in New York venues but that unvaccinated players from visiting teams, like Justin Holiday of the Kings, can play.
Mayor Adams admitted the rule is “unfair” jokingly saying “I’m not sure if a Boston fan created this rule. I don’t know.” Former Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose administration wrote the regulation, is openly a Red Sox fan.
“I think it’s unfair, and I’m not sure if a Boston fan created this rule, I don’t know. I’m really, really leery about sending the wrong message. Having this city closed down again keeps me up at night. The rule was put in place, to start changing it now would send mixed messages. So I’m struggling with this, just to be honest.”
However, in the interim, the mayor announced that the city’s infection rate had dropped precipitously.
Great news, New York City! The seven day average for #COVID19 cases is under 1,000 for the first time since November.— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) February 18, 2022
You made this happen by participating in vaccines, boosters and testing.
➡️ https://t.co/cNSZQW3Wf1 pic.twitter.com/BgVwu17krr
Sommerfeldt offered a caveat that could be one more hurdle for the Nets.
But even if “Key to NYC” is lifted, Irving may not be able to play at Barclays because of the city’s private employer mandate, which requires vaccinations for all employees of Big Apple-based private companies, including the Brooklyn Nets.
Though he’s targeting “Key to NYC” for tweaks, Adams has no plans to revisit the private employer mandate, according to a City Hall official.
On Tuesday night, meeting with season ticket-holders, Sean Marks said he was optimistic about Irving being able to move from part-time to full time status.
“I have to be optimistic like everybody here. We all know what’s at stake here,” said the Nets general manager Tuesday night at Barclays Center. “If you turn on CNN or BBC or FOX or whatever your flavor is, you see everything’s changing. I’m part of the (British) Commonwealth so I was watching BBC the other day and it’s looking vastly different over there than it is here right now in terms of their mandates and so forth.
“I think we see each city or state starting to change the rules. We’re starting to see a sense of normality again and getting back to life. We have to go on. The vaccine rates are obviously high so I am optimistic. I have to be optimistic. I think that’s the only way to look at this.”
On Monday night, Irving himself had this to say...
“I’m just saying, just watch our squad after the break. Like, just watch. Just watch,” Irving could be seen saying on a Twitch broadcast Monday night.
“This is great downtime right now before things start getting going again. I think there’s like 20 some-odd games left. I’m telling y’all, watch. Just watch. … God willing we’re healthy and everything works out.”
The Nets have 23 games left in the regular season. Of those 23, Irving can currently only play eight ... and only one of the last eight.
- Steve Nash says Kyrie Irving ‘excited’ about possibility of playing in all of Brooklyn Nets’ games - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Kyrie Irving’s status and four other factors hanging over the Nets as they try to escape the Play-In Tournament - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Kyrie Irving inches closer toward full-time player for Nets as NYC Mayor Eric Adams hopes to lift mandate soon - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Eric Adams ‘can’t wait’ to change vax mandate in boon for Kyrie Irving, Nets - Mark W. Sanchez - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving could soon be eligible to play in Brooklyn, as NYC mayor plans to phase out indoor mandates - Scott Thompson - SNY
- Mayor Adams plans to soon phase out NYC’s indoor COVID rules, but ex-pandemic advisor warns against - Chris Sommerfeldt - New York Daily News
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving to soon play home games? NYC mayor says he ‘can’t wait’ to phase out vaccine mandate - Jack Maloney - CBS Sports