1 of 5 | Overall, about 78% of the city's 8.3 million residents have received at least one dose and 70% are fully vaccinated. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- New York City has imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on all private employers in the Big Apple largely due to the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
De Blasio, who made the announcement on MSNBC, said all private-sector employers are affected by the "first-in-the nation measure," which is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 27.
"We've got Omicron as a new factor. We've got the colder weather which is going to really create additional changes with the Delta variant. We've got holiday gatherings," de Blasio told the cable network.
"We in New York City have decided to use a pre-emptive strike, to do something really bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers its causing to all of us."
De Blasio said that further details about the new mandate would be provided later.
"We'll have some other measures, as well, to really focus on maximizing vaccinations quickly so we can get ahead of omicron and all the other challenges we're facing with COVID," de Blasio told MSNBC.
The mayor also announced that children 5-11 would also be required to show proof of vaccination at indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children in the age group be vaccinated.
Data from New York City's COVID-19 dashboard shows that just 15%of children 5-12 are fully vaccinated, while 27% have received at least one dose. It says about 71% of minors 13-17 are fully vaccinated and 81% have received the initial dose.
Overall, about 78% of the city's 8.3 million residents have received at least one dose and 70% are fully vaccinated, the website says.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for New York due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, which has been detected in several states so far. It was first identified in Africa.
Hochul has said that several Omicron cases have been found in New York -- at least four in New York City and at least one in Suffolk County on Long Island.