Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. That’s nothing new in the age of Covid. So as uncomfortable as it may be, it’s necessary that the city impose a rule that people be vaccinated in order to eat indoors at a restaurant, go to a gym or to see a sporting event, concert or other performance indoors.
The city and state have done pretty much all they can to persuade people to get vaccinated. They’ve opened large vaccination centers such as those at Citi Field, Aqueduct Race Track and Queens College. The state offered a special lottery for the vaccinated and a chance for students to win scholarships. The city made house calls for those who wanted a shot but couldn’t get out and knocked on doors to try talking people into one. Mayor de Blasio recently announced that anyone who gets a shot will receive $100.
Yet there still will be those who don’t get the vaccine. When bribery doesn’t work, what will? Perhaps only the imposition of rules that will make life less comfortable for those who refuse to protect themselves, their neighbors and everyone else by getting one of the lifesaving vaccines. Those rules are now being imposed.
“It’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life,” de Blasio said Tuesday in announcing his new program requiring shots for many activities. “The Key to NYC Pass will be a first-in-the-nation approach. It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment facilities. This is going to be a requirement.”
“I want people to get vaccinated to feel they can live life fully, have a lot of freedom,” he said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “The reward of vaccination is freedom. Tragically, if you don’t get vaccinated, you’re going to be left out.”
It’s sad that it had to come to this point but it has. In Queens, 72 percent of adults are fully vaccinated (in Manhattan it’s 75 percent) but other boroughs lag behind, with only 58 percent fully dosed in the Bronx, according to city figures. So the Delta variant is cruising along, with the number of daily new cases citywide averaging 249 just a month ago and 1,409 today.
We cannot afford another serious wave of coronavirus that could crowd hospitals, kill hundreds needlessly or lead to new business shutdowns and more so-called remote learning for our students. The way to avoid that is to be as proactive as possible, and that means the vaccines, which are extremely effective in preventing deadly cases of Covid-19. You the vaccinated did your part. Now the burden falls on those who declined their civic duty. They must be banned from certain activities to keep the rest of us safe. They can rejoin society fully at any time, and we hope they will soon.