New York City will fine businesses $1,000 if they don’t comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that starts on Dec. 27.

The city will also apply escalating penalties thereafter if violations persist, the city said in guidelines released Wednesday on how it will enforce the requirement, which covers roughly 184,000 private businesses with operations in the city.

“We need strong measures now,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a Wednesday briefing. “The goal is not to penalize, but to simply make this work.”

New York City has gone further than other jurisdictions in imposing a vaccination mandate on private-sector workers with no test-out option. De Blasio has characterized the requirement as a “preemptive strike” as the city sees a rise in COVID infections. He said the move marked the next step in the city’s COVID response after the city ordered municipal employees, childcare workers and private school staff to get shots.

The measure calls for keeping unvaccinated employees out of offices and workplaces and doesn’t ask businesses to fire or discipline employees who refuse to comply. Co-working spaces such as WeWork are covered under the order and must check each individual worker’s proof of vaccination when they rent space to people.

The requirement asks for proof of one dose by Dec. 27. Workers need to get their second dose within 45 days.

New York State has also been ramping up COVID measures as hospitalizations rise. Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered all businesses starting this week to require masks indoors if they don’t have a vaccine requirement.

While some businesses have pushed back against the mandates and said they were blindsided, officials have defended the requirements.

“I’ll tell you what I hear from our business community — that their greatest fear is shutdowns,” de Blasio said on CNN Sunday. “Their greatest fear is going back to where we were in 2020, to restrictions, to people losing their livelihood.”

The city’s order will go into effect a few days before de Blasio leaves office due to term limits. Mayor-Elect Eric Adams will evaluate the mandate when he assumes office and follow the guidance of health officials, he said in an interview on Pix 11 Tuesday. “It’s always about following the science — that’s what I’m going to do.”


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