Mayor Adams gives exemption green light for unvaccinated athletes, performers in New York City

Eric Adams unvaccinated
Eric Adams speaks about the exemption for certain unvaccinated workers from Citi Field’s Jackie Robinson Rotunda. (Photo via Twitter/@nycgov)

Mayor Eric Adams announced that all unvaccinated entertainers, including athletes, comedians, singers and dancers, will be allowed to perform in New York City during a press conference at Citi Field Thursday morning. He also said the exemption extends to all workers at the venues where these take place.

During the press conference, Mayor Adams emphasized the exemption didn’t just apply to professional athletes like Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets or any unvaccinated players on the Mets and Yankees. All the stadium workers who previously were unable to work due to their unvaccinated status would be able to do their jobs.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) celebrates during the second half with forward Kevin Durant and guard Patty Mills after scoring a career high 60 points against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Mayor Adams cited the economic opportunities for the city as a big reason why this group was prioritized for exemption. Unvaccinated people will be able to attend events, spending money that will help both the workers there and the city itself grow financially.

According to Adams, this exemption will help a lot with eliminating unemployment.

“Unemployment leads to economic unhealthiness of this city,” Adams said. “This is the first step toward economic recovery.”

This “nightlife industry,” was a big source of revenue for the city prior to the pandemic, according to Adams, who estimated the value as being around $35.1 billion.

The announcement of this executive order comes just two weeks before Opening Day of the MLB season. Prior to the order, there was concern among the Mets and Yankees that their unvaccinated players wouldn’t be able to play in any of their home games, just like what Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has experienced up to this point during the NBA season.

Mets and Yankees presidents Sandy Alderson and Jerry Levine mentioned that a majority of the workers in their front offices are vaccinated. Alderson said all but one or two employees were willing to get vaccinated prior to the exemptions. However, the one or two who refused were terminated, as they weren’t allowed to work at the time. Both Alderson and Levine said a majority of their team’s players were vaccinated, but were not at liberty to provide a precise number due to the CBA agreement.

Adams acknowledged that there would be many people critical of his decision to exempt these parties over the likes of municipal employees.

“Some people will boo us, but others will cheer,” Adams said from the Jackie Robinson Rotunda in Citi Field. “That’s not only the game of baseball but the game of life.”

When asked about the municipal employees who were fired for not being vaccinated possibly getting their jobs back soon, Adams said that wasn’t going to happen.

According to Adams, “They were hired with the understanding that they be vaccinated.”

If COVID-19 cases remain low in the coming weeks, Adams hinted that unvaccinated employees who are unable to work in other fields may soon be able to work again. However he has not yet decided which industries would be next.

“We’ll look for other ways to ease restrictions in the city,” Adams said.

Adams stressed how reliant he’s been on his medical team throughout the process of reopening the city. He said they gave the green light for him to pass this executive order.

However, Adams also left the door open for more restrictions to come back if the COVID-19 cases begin climbing exponentially again. New York City has mostly been able to stave off the new omicron variant so far, but this executive order will be the city’s biggest test yet.