To entice diners to go out and dine outside, New York City mayor Eric Adams went restaurant hopping in Manhattan’s East Village on Monday to celebrate the end of the city’s indoor vaccine mandate.
Adams was visibly seen very happy and bubbly as he visited four neighborhood eateries — including Ukrainian mainstay Veselka, where he lunched on vegetarian borscht, pierogis, and stuffed cabbage — as well a skatepark and a deli.
“We may have to do this again with COVID, but in the meantime, we can’t sit at home hoping that it doesn’t come while our city is not prospering,” Adams said.
On Monday, Adams lifted the vaccine mandate enacted in August and allowed people to visit restaurants, bars, gyms, and other indoor establishments in the city without having to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Before lifting the order, some public health experts pleaded with Adams for weeks to not do away with the mandate, arguing it’s a relatively small burden that incentivizes vaccination and hedges against potential future outbreaks amid fear that new variants of the virus could still emerge.
But Adams was adamant on lifting the order to bring back the business of food in the Big Apple.
Despite his order to lift the mandate, Adams said business owners can still require proof of vaccination for customers if they want.
“We’re going to continue to encourage them to get vaccinated, but if they’re not, I am not offended,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jay Varma, former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top pandemic adviser revealed that he is not happy with the celebration of the lifting of the vaccine mandate.
“Celebrating the removal of Key2NYC requires you to believe against all evidence that feasible, acceptable, affordable, beneficial COVID19 protections are bad for business, rather than virus’s ability to cause unpredictably large surges of illness and death,” Varma tweeted Monday.