They’re still taking office on Jan. 1, but the grand inauguration ceremony that Mayor-elect Eric Adams, City Comptroller-elect Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams planned in their home borough of Brooklyn on New Year’s Day is off.
The ceremony scheduled for the Kings Theatre in Flatbush became a casualty of the recent Omicron-fueled COVID-19 outbreak in New York City. The event was postponed until a later date.
In a joint statement, Adams, Lander and Williams expressed their intent to prioritize the health of others.
“Dear fellow New Yorkers, it is clear that our city is facing a formidable opponent in the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and that the spike in cases presents a serious risk to public health. After consulting with public health experts, we have decided that our joint inauguration ceremony will be postponed to a later date in order to prioritize the health of all who were planning to attend, cover, and work on this major event,” they wrote.
The ceremony was meant to be a symbolic change from the usual inauguration held at City Hall—A historic theatre in the borough all three men have served, especially Adams who is leaving his post as Brooklyn borough president. Williams is from Flatbush and Lander resides in Park Slope.
“We thank the Kings Theatre for their interest in hosting this exciting moment in our city’s history, and everyone who has been working hard to plan this celebration. We look forward to getting together in person with our loved ones, colleagues, and well-wishing New Yorkers to honor this great democratic tradition, and to thank all those who have made it possible, at a safer time in the weeks ahead,” they said.
The fast-acting but currently mild variant of COVID-19, omicron, caused a severe uptick in cases across the city. As of Dec. 20, the 7-day average of cases has gone up to 8,025. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio expects this surge to be short-lived, scientists at the CDC are still gathering information on how the omicron variant spreads and what the level of risk is.
After Adams becomes the mayor, he will shy away from shutting down the city again. His plans to address COVID include instituting vaccine and mask mandates as the doctors on his health team see fit. “It’s going to take a lot for me to lock down the city,” he said on Dec. 16.
Lander is also encouraging the city to mandate testing for the virus before students and teachers return from winter break, so as not to exacerbate the surge. “The outgoing and incoming Mayor and school officials can and should prepare now to ensure that January 3 is a turning point that reduces rather than accelerates this wave of the pandemic,” Lander said on Monday.
Williams recently tested positive for the virus though he is fully vaccinated with a booster shot. “I have mild symptoms and am quarantining at home away from my pregnant wife, who has tested negative. I know that isolation is a privilege not everyone has,” Williams said.
They did not announce a rescheduled date, but encouraged New Yorkers to protect themselves. “Health and safety must come first. We encourage all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, get boosted, and get tested. That is our pathway out of this pandemic, and we will come out of it together.”