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Mayor Adams addresses Kyrie Irving, ending mandates but doesn’t offer specific timeframe

Hillary Clinton Addresses New York Democratic Convention Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

In comments both general and specific to Kyrie Irving’s status, Mayor Eric Adams once again said that he plans to change the full array of the city’s COVID-19 mandates in light of new data ... but again did not offer specifics beyond a “few weeks.”

The Nets who are battling for a playoff spot may not have that much time, however.

In his general comments, Adams said at the dedication of a new State Island Ferry, “Within these next few weeks, you are going to see may of these mandates dissipate - so when my doctors tell me Eric is good to peel back another layer, we’re going to pull back another layer.”

In an earlier appearance on WPIX TV marking his first 50 days in office, Adams specifically addressed Irving’s situation for the first time as mayor.

“It is something that people are asking about,” Adams said Friday morning. “Listen, you bring a championship game here, you bring in millions of dollars in revenue, but we cannot base our decisions on sports.

“The real game we’re fighting is a game of safety and health, and we’re going to make the right decision for New Yorkers. I want that championship ring, but not at the expense of making sure we shut down our city again – and if it falls in line (it) falls in line, if it’s not we got to make the right decision for New Yorkers...

“Eventually we’re going to move to the place to ease up on many of these mandates so we can get back to a level of normality that we are looking for,” Adams reiterated.

Friday’s statements were the latest in a series starting a little over a week ago on the indoor vaccination mandate which is keeping the unvaccinated Irving from not only playing in New York but entering either Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden.

Adams admitted on February 16 that the mandate is “unfair” in that it penalizes pro athletes who play for home teams, but also said he’s “really, really leery” of “sending the wrong message,” considering Irving remains unvaccinated. Two days ago, after the city posted improving infection numbers for two consecutive weeks, Adams said that he “can’t wait” to end them,” meaning the mandates. He promised an announcement “in the next few weeks.”

In addition to the indoor mandate, the city has other mandates on the books, including for schools and private businesses.

Any decision on easing or eliminating the mandates is completely up to Adams since they was instituted via an executive order signed by his predecessor, Bill deBlasio. Although he did not say so specifically, the mayor may be waiting for his new medical commissioner, Dr. Aswin Vasan, to take office in March before announcing further steps. Vasan has been working with outgoing medical director Dr. Dave A. Chokshi who was retained so the office had continuity during the dramatic increase in cases caused by the omicron variant. So he won’t need to ramp up.

Irving as played 14 games since the end of December when the Nets permitted him to rejoin the team for road games. The team is 4-10 in those games, most of them without Kevin Durant, who’s been rehabbing a sprained meniscus.

The Nets could use Irving at home, with only eight of their 22 remaining games on the road, including only one of eight at season’s end.