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Sources: Mayor Adams will roll back COVID vaccine mandate for athletes, performers

Mayor Adams expected to lift vaccine mandate for athletes, performers 02:52

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams will announce Thursday that he's exempting athletes and performers from New York City's private sector vaccine mandate.

Sources tell CBS2's Marcia Kramer he's expected to make the announcement Thursday morning at Citi Field, and it will take effect immediately.

This means unvaccinated athletes, like Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and baseball players who are about to start the season, will be able to play home games.

COVID VACCINE

CBS2's Ali Bauman spoke with New Yorkers outside the Barclays Center.

"I'm super happy! Yes! What!" Park Slope resident Jessica Colon said.

"Good for Kyrie. He needs to play," Crown Heights resident Katrell Thomas said.

"I wanna seem them playing and running around that gym," said Isamary Lopez, of Downtown Brooklyn.

Athletes, performers to be exempt from NYC vaccine mandate 02:16

"It's good that now he gets to play, he gets to be with his teammates, play the game he loves, actually be on the court, so I think it's good," Crown Heights resident Ken Fergueson said.

"It's good to see the Nets win, so I'm happy about that," Downtown Brooklyn resident Xavier Andrews said.

But Andrews is still torn about the mayor's decision.

"Obviously, it's not great to bend the rules for everyone, but I think he's probably getting a ton of pressure from these guys. Gotta fill this building," he said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Adams has flip-flopped on the vaccine rules made by the de Blasio administration because of a loophole, which allowed visiting players and performers to go on even if they are unvaccinated.

On Feb. 16, Adams said, "The rule was put in place. To start changing it now, I think it would send mixed messages."

On Feb. 28, Adams said, "I want Kyrie on the court. You know, I would do anything to get that ring. So badly, I want it. But there's so much at stake here."

Irving, a vaccine holdout, had been among the most high-profile people impacted. He was able to re-join the team in January but only when they played out of town games.

This month, concerns were raised that the rule would also impact Major League Baseball, with it applying at the outdoor baseball parks in the Bronx and Queens.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Though Adams has been rolling other restrictions back, this decision still comes as a surprise just one day after the mayor talked about making an exception.

"Baseball, basketball, businesses, all of those things, they have to wait until that layer comes," Adams said Tuesday.

The city's vaccine rules will still apply to all other workers who perform in person or interact with the public.

"You shouldn't be forced to get a vaccine if you don't want to," Colon said.

"We have to be careful. I feel like they should give it a good year so we can get it under control and move forward from there, but right now, no," Downtown Brooklyn resident Juma Thorton said.

Adams, a Mets fan, is scheduled to make an "economic and health-related announcement" Thursday morning at Citi Field, where the Mets play, according to his official calendar that was released Wednesday night.

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