GOP mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa and some local Republican leaders were among 300 people at a Manhattan rally Sunday to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for city employees and indoor venues.
“Let people have individual rights and freedom — and not the boot, crushing the life out of our economic system, your ability to raise your families,” Sliwa said during the rally, which was held a block from de Blasio’s home base of Grace Mansion.
The Guardian Angels founder said he supported increasing the city’s vaccination rate but argued that the city’s mandate infringes on individual freedom and will be impossible to enforce starting Sept. 13, as the Democratic mayor has promised.
“I think we can all agree here we’d like to see people vaccinated if they want to get vaccinated. Make it available,” Sliwa said.
But then there’s “comrade Bill de Blasio, the part-time mayor, the dope from Park Slope,” pushing his requirement “with no explanations of how he’s going to enforce it,” Sliwa claimed.
“The mandates are specifically meant to keep people like de Blasio in power, the City Council in power, so that they can dictate what we do in our lives and also for our children,” he asserted.
City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told protesters the mayor’s plan would create “a city where there are two classes of people.
“Good news for you guys: There’s a vaccine that you can get. It’s free. It’s widely available. It’ll probably make you pretty safe from COVID. You should probably get it,” Borelli said. “But if you don’t, I don’t care because I’m not you dad. I’m not your mom. I’m not your doctor. It’s not my job.
“The age of personal responsibility is here,” he said. “The age of individual collective sacrifice has to be gone.”
Also at the rally were Andrea Catsimatidis, head of the Manhattan Republican Party, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a GOPer running for governor.
De Blasio’s new mandate comes as the hyper-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 fuels devastating outbreaks in many Southern states such as Florida and Texas, where the rates of vaccination trail those in New York.
All told, 61.8 percent of all New Yorkers have gotten at least one shot — including 73.6 percent of all adults.
Unvaccinated New Yorkers accounted for 495,023 of the 500,302 coronavirus cases in the five boroughs between Jan. 1 and June 15, according to Yale University and the city Department of Health.