Those that thought New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio intended to stop his vaccine mandates with requirements for city employees, restaurants, gyms, and public venues may be surprised to learn that de Blasio has a new target: anyone who rides the subway.
De Blasio took to Twitter on Tuesday to tell New Yorkers that were it up to him, no one would be able to ride the subway without giving evidence of their vaccination status. He may have an ally in Governor Kathy Hochul, who is also a proponent of forced vaccination, and in fact, it was to Hochul that de Blasio directed his suggestion.
"We know vaccine mandates work," de Blasio proclaimed, "New York City is proof of that. Now let's go even further. I'm urging @GovKathyHochul to institute an MTA vaccine mandate. Let's do what we can to keep our city, our residents, and our workforce safe."
The subways are already subject to a mask mandate, per President Joe Biden's order that passengers of all public transit conveyances must mask up. But if de Blasio were to have his way, only those who are vaccinated and are willing to show evidence of it would be permitted on the subway system.
Public transit in New York has long been a great equalizer. Whether in the days of tokens or MetroCards or the new app-based ride system, New Yorkers of all stripes have ridden the subway together. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the world's richest men, famously rode the subway to work. The only requirement to ride was to pay the fare, and even that hasn't always been strictly enforced.
When de Blasio says "vaccine mandates work," what he means is that his administration has successfully forced people to get vaccinated. More than 7.1 million of nearly 8.5 million (less since the exodus) New Yorkers have been vaccinated, with more and more getting the jab now that nervous parents are taking advantage of the new eligibility for children.
There have been many protests staged against vaccine mandates, with New Yorkers speaking out against both the forced vaccine, and plenty of people who are vaccinated who simply do not want to show paperwork and identification in order to freely move about the city.
Police officers, firefighters, and teachers are among those who have been substantially vocal about not wanting to be forced to undergo vaccination. Many of these people were on what were termed the "front lines" of the pandemic, praised and lauded for their efforts, their work, their diligence, and now their concerns are being ignored in the face of an authoritarian dictate.
De Blasio will likely find a willing collaborator in Hochul, who was Andrew Cuomo's Lieutenant Governor before he resigned in disgrace. Hochul pushed through a mandate for all health care workers in New York State's employ, threatening them with termination, and going so far as to fire those who had served the state during the pandemic after they were unwilling to undergo the jab.