New Federal Mandate Requires Business With Over 100 Employees Require Vaccination Or Weekly TestingBy Ali Bauman

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — COVID vaccines are now available for children ages 5 to 11 at city-run sites across New York City.

A steady stream of parents with their kids in tow arrived at the Citi Field vaccination site Thursday.

READ MORE: Paterson, N.J. Doubling Down On Vaccination Efforts As Omicron Variant Inches Closer

“We’ve been waiting to get the green light. We were ready to go,” one parent told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

“I just really wanted to have, to be able to see my friends again,” one child said.

Watch Aundrea Cline-Thomas’ report — 

Health officials are telling families science has said the vaccine is safe, and the city is extending its incentives, hoping they help persuade families to get their kids vaccinated by offering $100 to families for each child who gets the shot.

“Good news, kids are eligible for the $100 vaccine incentive. So we really want kids to take advantage, families to take advantage of that. Everyone could use a little more money around the holidays,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “Most importantly, we want our kids and our families to be safe.”

Vaccination clinics will also open at schools at least one day a week starting Monday.

SHARE YOUR QUESTIONS: What questions do you have when it comes to kids and the vaccine? 

“If we were to vaccinate every New Yorker age 5 to 11, we would prevent an estimated 38,000 cases of COVID-19,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.

READ MORE: Mayor-Elect Eric Adams Defends Taking Trip To Ghana Amid Growing Concerns About Omicron Variant

“If you have an 11-year-old, don’t wait until their 12. Vaccinate now. This vaccine will give them sufficient immunity, and you don’t want to wait and take the chance that they be exposed,” said Dr. Judith Flores with the New York City Test and Trace Corps.

The mayor encouraged parents and guardians with questions about the vaccine to call 212-COVID19.

Visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder to schedule an appointment and schools.nyc.gov/covid19 to see when shots will be offered at schools.

The following mobile sites will administer shots for ages 5-11 Friday:

  • Watson Gleason Playground at 1146 Rosedale Ave, Bronx, NY 10472
  • St. Mary’s Playground West at 519 St Ann’s Ave, Bronx, NY 10455
  • Calvert Vaux Playground at Calvert Vaux Park, 2702 Cropsey Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11214
  • Saratoga Park at 809 Halsey St, Brooklyn, NY 11233
  • Bryan Park at E Fordham Rd & E Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY 10458
  • Helen Marshall Playground/Skate Park at 99-22 25th Ave, Flushing, NY 11369
  • Raymond O’Connor Park at 209-1 32nd Ave, Bayside, NY 11360
  • Payson Playground at 269 Dyckman St New York, NY 10034

Meanwhile, remaining unvaccinated will become even harder for adults. The federal government announced a new rule Thursday that would mandate businesses with more than 100 people to require employees be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing starting Jan. 4.

“We wish it had come earlier, but it’s here now, and employers strongly support it,” Partnership for NYC President Kathryn Wylde told CBS2.

Wylde said the federal mandate will have more people returning to work in person and provide a long-awaited boost to restart the economy.

“Policies are consistent across the board, so people are not able to say, ‘Well my boss is requiring this, and your boss is requiring that.’ This gives it a level of certainty that I think it going to encourage more people to get vaccinated,” she said.

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At least, that’s the hope, but these mandates often receive pushback.

COVID VACCINE

Gristedes Foods employs thousands of New Yorkers in its grocery stores. The company is owned by businessman John Catsimatidis.

“Do you worry about possibly losing any employees?” CBS2’s Ali Bauman asked.

“No,” Catsimatidis said. “I don’t think fear is driving the bus anymore, so doing this mandate in January I don’t think is necessary, but if the federal government says we have to do it, we’ll cooperate.”

OSHA within the Labor Department said in its announcement Thursday that unvaccinated workers will also be required to wear masks.

Companies which do not comply could be fined $14,000 per violation.

“With the complexity of this rule, it’s gonna have some effect on the holiday season,” said Ed Egee, vice president of government relations and workforce development for the National Retail Federation.

The National Retail Federation argues the requirement will burden companies amid a worker shortage.

“We need to have fully assessed our workforce. We need to have inspected each and every employee’s vaccination card nationwide, and for those employees who are not vaccinated, we need to set up a testing system,” Egee said.

Under the federal mandate, employers must provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.

CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas contributed to this report.

Ali Bauman