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NYC COVID restrictions lifted, unvaccinated athletes now able to play in home games

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Sydney McKinney-Williams, Staff Writer

Mayor Adams announces the end of Covid-19 vaccine mandates. Photo//Barry Williams/ New York Daily News

On March 24, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City announced that the mandates for unvaccinated athletes have been lifted.

Adams lifted the mandate at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, and justified the decision by stating that it was unfair that the mandate targeted local athletes and not athletes out-of-state. Adams states, “This is about putting New York athletes on a level playing field."

The mandate will increase the chances of winning, which puts more people in the stands and brings people into the stores.

Regarding the NBA, the New York Knicks have already been eliminated from playoff contention, but the Brooklyn Nets being able to survive the play-in tournament could provide home playoff games and bring millions to the city.

The announcement on Thursday came with a lot of different reactions. Many people are upset because the charges brought against the mandate will be harder to defend due to the new changes.

The changes are also being called unfair due to another mandate requiring all employees of New York to be vaccinated or risk termination. 1,400 municipal employees have been fired for not complying with this mandate. As of now, Mayor Adams does not plan to lift that mandate for employees in New York. Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association stated, “There can’t be one system for the elite and another for the essential workers of our city.”

Dr. Vario, a top public health advisor stated, “The goal through all of this is to recognize we’re all in this together. If we’re saying, ‘You’re rich and powerful so you don’t have to play by the rules,’ that just sows division in our society.”

The lift of the mandate for athletes has also received positive feedback as well. The Nets, Knicks, Mets, and New York Yankees will now be able to play their unvaccinated players at all home games.

Kyrie Irving, point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, still does not believe the news is real, but he is ecstatic. Irving said, "I didn't want to get too excited. Still tonight, I'm trying to stay focused on this game. But I know tomorrow will eventually come and I'm looking forward to playing back in Brooklyn."

Irving has been adamant about not getting vaccinated, and he does not regret his decisions at all and is just happy to play.

However, if the Nets meet the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, Irving will not be allowed to play in Canada. Unvaccinated players are still not allowed to play in the country, so that will be a obstacle the Nets may need to navigate in the playoffs.

Kyrie Irving (PG) playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Photo// Adam Hunger/ Associated Press

The Yankees and Mets are also in a good position with Opening Day right around the corner. The Yankees’ first home game is April 7th against the Red Sox and the Mets have their first home game on April 17th.

While MLB players have been less vocal about who is and who is not vaccinated, the Yankees’ right fielder Aaron Judge is strongly rumored to be unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated MLB players are also excluded from playing in Canada due to their restrictions, but unvaccinated players are still able to play at their home stadiums.

Yankee Stadium from the upper decks. Photo// Matt Boulton/ Flickr

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