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Mayor Adams: Nets, Mets, Yankees will ‘have to wait’ till data says it’s safe enough to pull mandate

Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Despite the usual round of rumors that the City of New York is about to pull its public sector mandate — and permit Kyrie Irving and unvaccinated members of the Mets and Yankees — to play at home, Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday sounded like he won’t yield to pressure from sports fans or their teams.

“They have to wait,” Adams said of the sports teams while announcing an end to mask mandates for children 2-to-5. Irving, of course, hasn’t played at home since October because of his refusal to get the shot. Now, with Major League Baseball closing in on its Opening Day on April 7, there’s been increasing speculation that players on the Mets and Yankees are also unvaccinated and thus ineligible to play at CitiField and Yankee Stadium.

Adams didn’t provide any benchmarks the city will have to see before removing the mandate. The private sector mandate, instituted in December 2021 under then mayor Bill deBlasio, requires that private-sector employers with work forces larger than 100 enforce the vaccination mandate as a condition of employment. The city has its own mandate for municipal employees.

Three days ago, Adams’ new medical director, Dr. Aswin Vasan, described the mandate as “indefinite.”

“Right now, we’re going to take some complaints,” Adams said Tuesday. “But when this is all said and done, people are going to realize this is a thoughtful administration and we got it right. So baseball, basketball, businesses, all of those things, they have to wait until that layer comes.”

In line with what Dr. Vasan stated three days ago, Adams wouldn’t say Tuesday if he’s considering lifting the rule but noted he’s been “peeling back” both mask and vaccine rules one-by-one to see the impact of each change.

As AP’s Michelle Price wrote, the city has already peeled back various mandates...

Adams also recently rolled back rules requiring people to show proof of vaccination to dine in a restaurant, work out at a gym or attend a show or other events. The move came amid a push for a return to normalcy from the mayor and his counterparts around the country amid a steep drop in coronavirus cases and deaths.

“We’re going to do it in the right way,” Adams said. “We’re going to follow the science ... we’re going to make the right decision. And in New York, no matter what you do, this is 8.8 million people and 30 million opinions, so you’re never going to satisfy New Yorkers, so you must go with the logic, your heart and the science.”

In his comments, Adams also said that he’s not feeling any pressure from the city’s sports teams.

”I don’t feel any pressure doing this job at all, because I’m going to do what’s right,” he added.

The mayor and Dr. Vasan have said they are monitoring a slight rise in infections over the last week or so as the omicron BA.2 variant begins to spread in the city. The new variant is reportedly 30 percent more transmissible than omicron but does not pose any larger risk in terms of severe disease or death. Reports last week had 39 percent of all new infections in New York and New Jersey caused by BA.2, much higher than the national average.

Overall, the city’s infection rate has risen 50 percent over the past week, per Vasan. The city is averaging a little more than 950 new cases per day, comparable to the daily average in early November before the start of the omicron wave.

AP reports that city officials say if risk levels rise from their historic low levels, it’s possible the city will reimpose mandates already removed.