Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday that he would speak to the city’s lawyer about whether unvaccinated Nets superstar can continue practicing in the Big Apple under the city’s “indefinite” mandate for private-sector employees to get jabbed.
“Well, as we stated, the name of the game is that we were not going to be heavy-handed with the private-sector mandate,” Adams said during an unrelated news conference in Brooklyn.
“If Kyrie Irving is practicing — I’m not at the sports facility. The attorneys can tell us if he can practice or not, if it’s a violation of that or not.”
He added: “I will speak with my attorney to find out if it is, or isn’t.”
Following Adams’ remarks, a City Hall spokesperson said Irving was allowed to practice with the Nets at the Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, because it was never subject to vaccination requirements under the former “Key to NYC” program.
“Gyms in private facilities were treated the same as gyms in private residences and were not subjected to the vaccination requirements,” the spokesperson said.
“That same provision remains in effect today and that’s what allows him to play at that facility.”Adams ended the Key to NYC program on March 7.
Adams also said that “the name of the game is that we were not going to be heavy-handed with the private-sector mandate.”
“We want people to get back into office spaces, and we’re asking those who are the head of their companies to make sure that they create a safe environment for their employees,” he said.
“That’s the goal, though, so we’re not going to run around the buildings and check vaccine cards.”
Under the city’s mandate, Irving is barred from playing in home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, even though unvaccinated players from visiting teams can hit the hardwood because their employers aren’t based in the Big Apple.
The issue is about to heat up with Major League Baseball’s opening day on April 7, when the Yankees are scheduled to host the rival Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is widely believed to be unvaccinated.
The Mets home opener, against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field in Queens, is set for April 15.
It is unclear how many other New York baseball players are unvaccinated.
Last week, new city Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said no date was yet foreseen for lifting the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for both municipal and private-sector workers.
“I think it’s indefinite at this point,” he said.
“People who have tried to predict what’s going to happen in the future for this pandemic have repeatedly found egg on their face and I’m not going to do that here today.”