New York mayor says Nets, others will have to wait, he’s not dropping private employer mandate yet

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With the play-in and play-offs looming less than a month away — and Major League Baseball nearing opening Day — New York Mayor Eric Adams is not in any rush to drop the private employer vaccine mandate that will keep some players off the court/field.

The mandate that employees at restaurants, large public arenas and other venues must be vaccinated will remain until COVID numbers drop further, Adams said Tuesday. Here’s his quote via Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“Right now, we’re going to take some complaints,” Adams said during a 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.”

With the “stealth” omicron variant BA.2 now the dominant strain in New York City, the Mayor is being cautious, waiting to see what the numbers do. Parts of Europe have seen a rise in cases because of this variant.

New York dropped its proof of vaccination requirement for people to enter any large arena, dine indoors, or enter many other private businesses. However, the city still has a mandate that says workers in those arenas/restaurants/etc. must be vaccinated to be in the building. In practice, that means an unvaccinated Kyrie Irving can sit courtside without a mask and watch a Nets game but he can’t play in the game.

While that is confusing — and frustrates Kevin Durant — this is not on New York City and its somewhat awkward unwinding of COVID regulations. The city is working to keep people safe in a constantly shifting environment. Irving himself could solve this situation and play any time he wants, he could get a vaccine that has proven safe and effective. He has chosen not to, and while it’s his right to make that decision, all choices come with consequences. Irving and his teammates face those consequences.

And will continue to for at least a bit longer.