New York City to Lift Vaccine Requirements for Indoor Venues as Omicron Retreats

New York City is rolling back certain COVID-19 precautions, signaling a return to normalcy in one of the busiest cities in the country.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Sunday that vaccine mandates for certain indoor venues such as restaurants, gyms and theaters via the Key2NYC program will likely be lifted on March 7 if cases remain stable.

“As long as COVID indicators show a low level of risk and we see no surprises this week, on Monday, March 7, we will also lift Key2NYC requirements,” Adams wrote in a statement. “This will give business owners the time to adapt and will allow us to ensure we are making the best public health decisions for the people of New York.”

Adams also said that mask mandates for public schools could be eliminated next week as well, given a final evaluation on Friday.

As city- and statewide vaccine and masking mandates cool down, retailers are reevaluating their own COVID-19 precautions and scaling back when needed. Adidas confirmed to FN that it no longer requires its U.S. employees to be vaccinated in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to turn down the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees.

Retailers are also scaling back mask mandates for employees and customers, as states and cities eliminate these mandates as well.

Earlier this month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul allowed the state’s indoor mask mandate to expire without renewal. As such, masks are no longer required indoors in most businesses in New York state. As part of this change, the statewide indoor business mask-or-vaccine policy became optional for businesses, local governments and counties.

Last week, Target became one of the first major retailers to eliminate its mask mandate for customers and employees, as states across the U.S. make similar moves. Target does not require employees to get vaccinated, though the company offers benefits to employees who get the shots, such as two hours of pay per dose and free Lyft rides to and from the appointments. Walmart also reportedly dropped its indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated employees.

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