The joke may soon be on unvaccinated out-of-town comedians who are looking to perform in New York City.
That after State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) on Oct. 5 introduced legislation to end the COVID vaccine mandate loophole used by among others – comedian/podcaster/anti-vaxxer Joe Rogan.
Dubbed the Fairly Applying Individual Requirements (“FAIR”) Vaccine Mandates Act, the proposed legislation would prevent unvaccinated non-NYC-based performers and professional athletes from exploiting a loophole in NYC’s vaccine mandate that allows them to evade local vaccine requirements.
“If New Yorkers attend an entertainment or sporting event they must provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine. But New York City grants special privileges to out-of-town anti-vaxxers like Joe Rogan and NBA star Bradley Beal. This loophole puts the health of New Yorkers at risk, so I’ve introduced the FAIR Vaccines Mandate Act to close it,” said Hoylman.
According to guidance published by the Counsel to the Mayor of New York City on September 28, 2021, performers, athletes and individuals accompanying them appearing at an indoor entertainment venue in New York City require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 only if they are residents of New York City or are regularly employed by the establishment.
That means performers and athletes who reside out of the state are allowed to perform without proof of vaccination, putting patrons, venue staff, and other performers at risk of contracting COVID-19.
This exemption for out-of-town performers has no policy rationale, creates confusion about local vaccine requirements, and reduces the public’s confidence in New York City’s efforts to increase vaccination rates, reasoned Holyman.
The proposed legislation comes after Rogan, the former host of the TV series Fear Factor, performed at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 2.
Rogan, whose vaccine status is unknown, has shared many anti-vaccine sentiments on his podcast. However, he was allowed to perform because of the City’s loophole for out-of-state performers.
The legislation apparently won’t affect Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine as of yet. That’s because he is regularly employed in New York City, and therefore falls under de Blasio’s original guidance meaning he likely won’t be able to play games at either Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden this upcoming season until he is vaccinated.
But Hoylman feels his legislation will encourage any outside performers with upcoming gigs in New York City to understand they may miss a big paycheck if they don’t get vaccinated.
“Our message is simple: Get jabbed or get outta town,” said Hoylman.