News & Politics

De Blasio Goes Authoritarian: 'The Voluntary Phase Is Over'

AP Photo/John Minchillo

On Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio mandated that all city workers (some 300,000 people) either get a COVID-19 vaccine or take a test weekly. On Tuesday, he endorsed broader mandates, urging private-sector businesses to force vaccines on their employees. In an interview on MSNBC, the mayor declared that “we need to look at every form of mandate” and “the voluntary phase is over.”

“I think we need to look at every form of mandate — that’s public sector and private sector,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I’ve said to the private sector in New York City, any private sector entity, ‘Go ahead and do a full mandate, if that’s something you feel you can do and works for you, do it now. Everyone’s in a different situation, but go as far as you can go right now because we have to stop the delta variant.'”

Later on in the interview, de Blasio added, “We’ve got to shake people at this point and say ‘C’mon now.’ We tried voluntary. We could not have been more kind and compassionate as a country… free testing everywhere you turn, incentives, friendly warm embrace — the voluntary phase is over.”

“We can keep doing those things, I’m not saying shut it down, I’m saying voluntary alone doesn’t work. It’s time for mandates because it’s the only way to protect our people,” Hizzoner insisted.

The COVID-19 vaccines seem both safe and effective, but many Americans remain hesitant to take them. While Democrats have attempted to blame the Right for vaccine hesitancy, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris expressed skepticism about the vaccines during the 2020 presidential election in an attempt to undermine President Donald Trump’s reelection chances.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that even people who have gotten vaccinated should wear face masks indoors in some circumstances. This recommendation will do far more to encourage vaccine hesitancy than a few anti-vax cranks on the internet. Does the CDC no longer believe that the vaccine provides any protection from COVID-19?

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Much of the Democrats’ policy on these issues seems far more about control than it is about public health. While I support the vaccines, I cannot help but shiver at de Blasio’s insistence that “the voluntary phase is over.” When will the “voluntary phase” be “over” for climate change, abortion, or transgenderism?