November 10, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. We see continued good news when it comes to vaccination, and I’ll go over some really great information today. It's all about how we bring back this city. It's all about how we save lives, keep everyone safe. And you're going to see very clearly the mandates we put in place are working. We get more and more evidence of that all the time. We're really excited about the fact that 93 percent of our City workforce is now vaccinated. That number continues to go up. Since the announcement of the mandate there have been nearly 28,000 new vaccinations among our City workforce. And since the time the deadline officially passed for people to be vaccinated in the workforce over 8,000 more City employees have gotten vaccinated since then. And we've said, anyone who understands it's the right thing to do, even if it's a little late, we welcome them, come back, let's get back to work, let's keep everyone safe. So, that's great news.
Let's go over where we stand now with some of the key agencies covered by the October 20th announcement. The NYPD, as of today, 86 percent of employees vaccinated. That is up from 70 percent at the announcement. So, that is a really big jump. And the Department of Sanitation at 87 percent now, up from 62 percent at the time of the announcement. The Fire Department, the firefighting side of the Fire Department is at 84 percent now, up from 58 percent at the time of the announcement. And within EMS, 91 percent vaccinated up from 61 percent of the time announcement – 30 percent jump in the course of a few weeks because we had a mandate. I want to thank again, all our public servants who made the decision to get vaccinated. I want to welcome those who have not yet made that decision to do so. We need you. Let's move forward together.
We also have an update on the number of employees placed on leave without pay. Back on November 1st, that number was 9,000 employees on leave without pay. As of this morning, only 2,600 employees are on leave without pay at this point. So, obviously a lot of employees, upon recognizing the opportunity to keep serving the public, keep getting paid and be safe, keep their family safe, keep their colleagues safe, keep the people they serve safe, they made the decision to come in and get vaccinated. So, 2,600 employees on leave without pay from this current mandate, a very, very small piece of our public workforce. We do have 12,400 reasonable accommodation requests pending. Those are going to be worked through. Those are going to be looked at individually. There is an appeals process. Look, what we know from past practice, with other agencies, some of those will be approved, a good number will not be. Then people will have the choice, of course, get vaccinated, come back to work, and I do expect most people are going to take that choice based on everything we're seeing here. Most people will ultimately make the decision to get vaccinated, and we welcome that.
This is further proof of why this city is the safest place to be in America right now. We are so happy this week the international tourists are coming back. You can feel it already, the impact, on the streets of this city, on the restaurants, hotels, Broadway, everything. The international tourists are back. And people are coming here, including from all across America, because it's the safest place to be, because we have the highest level of vaccination, including in our public workforce. The mandates have made everyone safe and they're encouraging people to come visit. They're encouraging office workers to go back to their offices. A lot of progress because of the mandates.
Now let's talk about the other really exciting news, our five- to 11-year-olds, reaching the youngest New Yorkers. This is so exciting. You know what, we are seeing something great with the vaccination effort in our schools. We honestly thought this would be a helpful piece to – you know, a helpful component to have vaccinations in schools. But as I've said, when we judge from the older kids, we didn't see a lot of parents coming to school to get their kids vaccinated at the school building. Well, we're seeing the exact opposite with the younger kids. Yesterday over 5,800 vaccinations given in our school buildings. And that's astounding. In just two days, over 10,000 vaccinations at sites in New York City public schools. This is really wonderful. I want to thank everyone in our school communities and, of course, our heroic vaccinators. We're reaching so many kids, making families safe. So, this school effort is amazing. We're going to continue to have 200 sites available today at public school buildings that have five- to 11-year-olds in them. We're going to pick up again on Friday. Tomorrow, of course, is Veterans Day holiday. We're going to pick up again on Monday, and then we're going to keep adding if we see places that need more. We also have 24 of our vaccination mobile units out supporting these sites. And we're going to keep shifting personnel, vaccinate – vaccines, whatever we need to the sites where there's a lot of demand. We really want to encourage parents to come in. If this is the way that works best for them, that's great. We will accommodate them in our schools.
Here's the facts so far. Since the vaccination effort began – and it's been really five days now that we are counting, six days – we have had 31,337 young New Yorkers vaccinated. 31,337 of our five- to 11-year-olds vaccinated already. This is just a few days into the effort. You're going to see a lot more. And I want you to hear from someone who has done much to promote vaccination, he's done so much to fight for vaccine equity, and he has a child himself and can talk about what it means for parents to know their kids are safe. He always has something interesting to say. My pleasure to introduce the Borough President of Queens, Donovan Richards.
Mayor: Thank you, Borough President. Thank you for the very innovative ice cream incentive program that you've established in your own family. DIII –
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards: Maybe you could think about this, too. Like, you know, you should maybe roll out a citywide, you know, ice cream incentive as well [inaudible] get a jab.
Mayor: You know, you're an innovator. I want you to know that. And I also notice it always comes back to food with you. This has been a running theme –
Borough President Richards: Get your shot and get an icy pop. There you go, there's your thing.
Mayor: And it rhymes. Thank you, you're doing the branding, too. I really appreciate that. Well, please – I send my salute to DIII. He's leading the way, showing the kids of this city that it makes sense to get vaccinated. Send out a photo when you do that, Donovan. The world wants to see that.
All right, everyone, listen, thinking about our families and thinking about everything we've got to do to keep everyone safe – the holidays are coming up. We're really – all of us are looking forward to holidays with our loved ones, including a lot of folks we haven't seen in a long time. We're finally going to be able to see the people we love, generations upon generations, safely. And the best way to do that, of course, is to make sure everyone who gathers for the holidays is fully vaccinated. So, I want to give people an update to think about the timelines here. So many New Yorkers are vaccinated. That's fantastic. If you got that first shot already, remember if it's Pfizer or Moderna, come back for that second shot on time. But we want to let people know, because a lot of people are planning ahead, what you need to do is you want to be fully vaccinated, fully vaccinated in time for the holidays.
Well, Thanksgiving's coming up soon, but you can still get fully vaccinated. If you get the Johnson & Johnson shot by tomorrow, November 11th, you will be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving Day. If you want to be fully vaccinated by Hanukkah – and again, this is, if you haven't already gotten at least one shot, or, of course, two shots – if you're starting from scratch, you want to be fully vaccinated by Hanukkah, you can do it. You can get a Johnson & Johnson shot by November 14th, and you'll be ready for Hanukkah. If you want to be fully vaccinated by Kwanzaa, you must get the Moderna shot by November 14th, the Pfizer shot by November 21st, or Johnson & Johnson by December 12th. And if you want to be fully vaccinated for Christmas, you have to get your first dose of Pfizer by November 20 or get a Johnson & Johnson by December 11. So, there's time to make sure you are fully vaccinated. If you want to plan ahead, this is a great reason. Anyone who is still not vaccinated, this is a great reason to get it done. Go to nyc.gov/vaccinefinder. It's all free. It's all easy. I want you to hear from someone who has been an extraordinary voice in the South Bronx, helping families to get what they deserve, to get the support they deserve, the services they need – has been a voice for making sure that people who need quality health care, get it. She is the co-pastor of New Life Outreach International in the Bronx. My pleasure to introduce Pastor Elvia Cabrera.
Mayor: Pastor, thank you so much. I know your family has been through so much and I find it particularly noble that despite that pain you've been out there doing so much to reach people, to help them not go through the pain that your family experienced. And I want to thank you and everyone in the faith community who has led the way in getting people vaccinated. This is a story that's not being told enough. We have turned to the faith community. So many houses of worship have held their own vaccination drives repeatedly, have participated in our federal bonus program, have used all of their ability to gain trust, to convince people that vaccination works. It's been a crucial reason why we have seen such progress on vaccination. And, I want to say, extraordinary results in the Latino community in terms of level of vaccination. So, thank you to you and everyone in the church who has led this effort. It's made a huge difference.
Okay, everyone, just before we go to what we do every day, which is our indicators, two important notes. Tomorrow, we're not doing our normal press briefing, because of all of the events celebrating Veterans Day. I'll be participating in several different activities, so we will not have the regular press conference tomorrow. Looking ahead to next week, of course, we will pick it up again on Monday. But want everyone to know next week will be the fifth and final for this year, 2021 – the fifth and final City Hall in Your Borough. And we're going to my home borough of Brooklyn, and I'm very, very excited about this. So, we'll be all over Brooklyn, based at Brooklyn Borough Hall. A lot of big announcements that we'll be making next week that will have a long-term impact on Brooklyn, and we'll be getting out and around the borough. So, looking forward to that really, really special week ahead.
Okay, our indicators. And, as you'll hear, really good news on the vaccination front, the mandates, the incentives now reaching the youngest New Yorkers. These numbers are growing rapidly. It's wonderful. As of today, 12,178,451 doses administered. This is why we are now the safest place in the country. This is why people are coming back in droves to New York City – that number. And that number is going to grow. Number two, daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19 – today's report, 102 patients. Confirmed positively level 15.74 percent. Hospitalization rate per 100,000, 0.51. And then, new reported cases on a seven-day average – today’s report, 848 cases.
A few words in Spanish, and the topic is getting vaccinated ahead of the holidays so families can get together safely.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, we turn to our colleagues in the media and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: Good morning. We'll now begin our Q-and-A. As a reminder, we're joined today by Dr. Mitch Katz, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals; Dr. Torian Easterling, Chief Equity Officer; and Meisha Porter, Schools Chancellor. Our first question today goes to David with Telemundo.
Mayor: David, how are you doing?
Question: I'm doing great. Happy Wednesday. Buenos dias.
Mayor: Buenos dias a usted.
Question: Mayor, my question is, are you aware of the many food vendors selling their produce on corners of the Big Apple? Some of them are mothers who carry their children on their shoulder to be able to make a living. I wanted to talk to you about that.
Mayor: David, look, this is a really important issue, because it is part of the history, and the culture, and the life of this city that people have come here from all over the world, including my own grandparents, to establish a new life. And people get started on that new life in a lot of different ways, and that could include being street vendors, and we want to make sure people get that opportunity the right way. We've made some real changes and reforms to make street vending better and more available for folks who want to follow that opportunity. But we also need, as with everything in this big, crowded city, we need some limits, we need some rules. And so, what we want to do – and our Department of Consumer and Worker Protection is leading the way – we want to help as many people as possible to be legal street vendors and do things the right way. When they're not following the rules, what we tell people is we don't want to see any penalty for them. We just want to fix the situation. So, my message is, anyone who does not yet qualified to be a street vendor, please, when the authorities say to you, you can't vend in a certain place or you can't do it a certain way, please just follow that instruction. We don't want to see anyone penalized, but we do want to get as many people as possible on a pathway with street vending or any other kind of work. And remember, all the services we provide, job training, so many opportunities we provide to people across the board. We, of course, provide to immigrant New Yorkers. We provide the folks who are not documented. We want to help people get started in this city. Go ahead.
Question: Yes. Actually, also there is a concern because some of them are mothers with their children. Sometimes their lives are in danger. Are there any plans to help to save those children and families in general and, you know, address the situation where children are with them in those places and sometimes they can be in danger.
Mayor: Yeah. We don't want to see any child ever in danger, David. We want to make sure that parents know we have so many good options for their kids during the day, obviously starting with three-year-olds right in our public schools with 3-K, pre-K open to all New York children, again, regardless of documentation status. But we also have so many childcare options that parents can access, including free options. So, we want to – any parent who needs that help, we want to connect them to the help so the child doesn't have to be with them during the day if they're out making a living. Everything we do – look, throughout this whole pandemic, but also even before – we provide health care for free for people in need through NYC Care. And, David, I want you to remind your viewers that any New Yorker who can't access health insurance, including because they're undocumented, can access NYC Care and have a full health plan that they can afford or even get it for free. We want everyone to have health care coverage. Our food programs, obviously, have been provided for free to people in need – education, you name it, childcare. Let's help those parents to access that support as they're building up their life and their work.
Moderator: Our next question goes to Juliet with 1010 WINS.
Question: Yes. Good morning, Mr. Mayor, and everybody on this call. I was wondering, the people who are requesting the medical and religious accommodations, how long is that process actually taking? I think you said there were still about 12,000 of them. I know you said a couple of days, but is that really realistic?
Mayor: No, I didn't say a couple of days. I said it will continue over the coming days. The City workforce, obviously, as a total, Juliet, is almost 400,000. So, put in perspective, we know that over the days and weeks ahead, because each agency has different numbers they have to cover in terms of accommodation requests, they do take some time. They all have to processed individually. There is an appeal process for anyone who chooses that. So, it won't be days. It'll take more than that, but everyone keeps working in the meantime. And then, what we saw with our health care workers, what we saw with our education employees, and what we're seeing already in the agencies covered by the October 20 mandate is, most people when they get told if they – if they don't get the accommodation, they get told that, they then get vaccinated. So, this'll play out over the coming days and weeks. But what I can tell you with assurance is, if someone gets an accommodation, then they keep working in the right way. If someone doesn't get an accommodation, the overwhelming likelihood is then they get vaccinated. Go ahead, Juliet.
Question: Okay. Thank you. And I'm following up on Borough President Richard’s suggestion. Will you be reaching out to an ice cream company for an incentive for the five- and 11-year-olds, or, I guess, for anybody for that matter?
Mayor: I kind of like this ice cream plan. Now, I will remind you that kids qualify for the hundred-dollar incentive, which is even better than ice cream. So, Juliet, we really should probably be saying it a lot more to our parents. Look, you're going to get your kids vaccinated for their safety and wellbeing, first and foremost, but a hundred-dollar incentive doesn't hurt per child. So, that's available right now. But I like the ice cream idea. So, we're going to see if we can come up with an extra added ice cream incentive on top of that. We'll name it after [inaudible], the son of Donovan Richards. Go ahead.
Moderator: Our next question goes to Elizabeth with Gothamist.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. I wanted to ask about the decision yesterday to close P.S. 166 in Queens. Can you and Dr. Chokshi talk about when that school crossed the threshold into widespread transmission. And why was the decision made yesterday and not the day before? The UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, has said that the school would have been closed two weeks ago under last year's criteria.
Mayor: Well, Elizabeth, I'll start. And then we have Dr. Torian Easterling, the First Deputy Commissioner at the Health Department. And of course, the Chancellor's with us as well, let them both speak to it. But Elizabeth, the standards are entirely different this year because the situation in this city is entirely different. We have a vast, vast number of New Yorkers vaccinated. We have all adults in our school communities vaccinated. And we have an incredibly low level of COVID in our schools. So, we changed the rules. We followed CDC guidance, and we changed the rules of how we handle these cases. I believe this is now the second time we've had a full school closure. I think the fact that we've been up with schools, September, October, November, and it's only been a couple of times is pretty amazing. And speaks volumes to all the precautions that were taken to create a safe environment. Dr. Easterling, you want to start and then we'll turn to the Chancellor?
First Deputy Commissioner Torian Easterling, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thank you so much, sir. This is a really good question. And as the Mayor mentioned, you know, we really have a gold standard as far as keeping our staff and our students safe. And we have all of our safety precautions in place. And not only that, you know, we really are looking at all of the guidance that have already been put out, not only by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but also other professional organizations that have been clear that, you know, having vaccinated individuals really have changed the rules. And we do want to follow the science and data here. And so, we've been really making sure that we get all of the information and Commissioner Chokshi has been clear that we work with our teachers, our staff, to underpin all of the information as best as possible to make a sound decision. And we obviously work with our colleagues at the Department of Education. And so, we certainly follow the rules there. And I think this is the ways in which we want to reiterate to our parents that we are keeping our kids and our staff safe.
Mayor: Thank you. Chancellor, you want to add?
Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter: Yeah, I'll just add that this is an example of our gold standard approach to health and safety. You know, we started the investigation immediately. I'm super proud of how the school leadership and P.S. 166 and the situation room, you know, I'm so proud of them for acting so quickly. As you said, this is our second closure. It is November 10th. And so that means we're doing something right.
Mayor: Amen. Go ahead Elizabeth.
Question: Secondly, on the accommodation requests. We've made requests to your office to have those requests broken down by agency. Would it be possible for us to finally get that today?
Mayor: Yeah, we'll get that to you. I assume that's something that's quickly available today or tomorrow, whatever the quickest we can do. But we want to make sure it's accurate, but of course. And the good news is that again, we see those requests being acted on. There've been 400 that have been approved so far. Obviously, for folks not approved, we're seeing folks right away choosing to get vaccinated. That's why you're seeing that leave without pay number go down. That's one of the reasons it's gone down so much. So, we'll get you an update about how that breaks out.
Moderator: Our next question goes to Michael with the Daily News.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Good morning, Michael. How are you?
Question: I'm doing okay today. I wanted to ask you about – I know you had some questions on this, this debt to Kramer Levin? You know, because there remains unpaid Councilman Kallos said yesterday, it should be viewed as a gift or, you know, in his words a bribe. And you know, those are pretty strong words. I wanted to see if you’d like to respond to that? And you know, give us your feeling on it?
Mayor: Yeah. I mean, that's absolutely inappropriate of him. I haven't seen his full comments, so I won't go any further than that. He's wrong, inappropriate, unfair. It's a debt. I'm going to pay it. We all have debts. It's part of life for so many of us. I'm going to pay it. The topic at hand is what's the right thing to do for New York City. And that's how I make my decisions. Go ahead, Michael.
Question: Thanks Mr. Mayor. The follow up to that I want to ask you, is there a payment plan in place here? I'd asked this to the press office yesterday and didn't hear back. I mean, and if there is a payment plan, what's the plan moving forward?
Mayor: It, we really in the scheme of things, only very recently got the final rules on how to go about appropriately putting together the resources. It's going to take time. There's no question about it, but it will get done. Not yet, not today, but it will get done.
Moderator: Our next question goes to Erin with Politico.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. You know, I'm just going to follow up on that question about the legal bills. Is there, I mean [inaudible] you haven't made any payments to it? I understand that it's a lot of money and you don't have $300,000, you know, just offhand. But are you on principle, not feeling that you should have to pay any of that yourself personally, out of pocket? And then it should only be coming from donors? Or, you know, are you going to try to chip away with, you know, the money that you're making in your salary at actually paying this debt off?
Mayor: It's again, it's a debt Erin, that I intend to pay. Realistically, I don't, you know, I hope you know enough about me by now to say I do not have a lot of extra resources kicking around. I'm not like my predecessor, so I would have to raise the money. But I will over time and I will pay it off. Go ahead, Erin.
Question: Okay, thanks. And then I'll go back to the vaccine mandate. So, you said 400 of the accommodations have been granted. So, have any of them been denied at this point? And then when folks are granted the accommodations, I believe if I remember correctly for teachers, if they've got an accommodation they weren't put in the classroom. They were put in some other assignments. So, are folks going to be able to continue to do their regular jobs unvaccinated if they get the accommodation? Or are you going to have to move them to some other status?
Mayor: It obviously depends on the specific situation, Erin. The schools were very different because we were so insistently trying to make sure because of the many, many concerns of parents, that we had a very, very consistent approach to schools. And that's why we handled that the way we did, we had to show parents that everyone could come back safely. In other lines of work, there's different situations, different realities. So, some people will be able to continue the exact work they're doing. Some people will have a different kind of work. We'll get you details on that. But I want to emphasize the accommodation process, it does take some time. The ones that are obviously 100 percent qualify, you know, those are some of the ones we'll get done first. The ones where it does not necessarily look like someone qualifies, again, people have an opportunity, employees can give more information, they can go through an appeal. Those will take longer. But we'll keep moving on this. And I think what you're going to see is most of the time, if there's not a justification for accommodation, I think the vast majority of those folks will then turn around and get vaccinated.
Moderator: Our next question goes to Nolan with the Post.
Question: Hey, good morning, everybody.
Mayor: Good morning, Nolan. How are you doing?
Question: I'm well, Mr. Mayor. We wrote a story a couple of weeks ago about how you're financing some major renovations at one of your properties in Park Slope. And I'm wondering how you've managed to swing that project while you still have several hundred thousand dollars in outstanding legal bills?
Mayor: Borrowing. Refinancing and borrowing like so many homeowners do. That was the only way we could do it. It’s a house, it's an old house. It's over a hundred years old. It needed a whole lot of work before we could move back in. And that's how we're doing it. Go ahead, Nolan.
Question: Yeah, sure. Can you hear me?
Mayor: Yes, go ahead.
Question: Alright. Alright, good. So, explain to New Yorkers, why you're financing a major project at your house when you still haven't paid your legal bills? Legal bills that go to a firm that does a great deal of work with people who have interests before the City government, that you play a role in approving?
Mayor: I need a place to live. It's very simple. This is my house. This is where I live. It has a – when we moved in in the year 2000, it needed an immense amount of work. And we couldn't afford it. And we finally got to a situation where we could refinance and afford to do you know, some really basic renovation that it needed. And I need a place to live, and my family needs a place to live. That's the bottom line.
Moderator: We have time for two more questions for today. Our next question goes to Bob with Chief Leader.
Question: Mr. Mayor, this has to do with the timeline for employees that are still on an unpaid leave from the city payroll. In the November 4th agreement between the city and DC37 and its labor committee, this express language that says that a as of December 1st, 2021, those who have not, you know, they're in this category will unilaterally be separated by the city. I'm just wondering what about workers in unions like the firefighters union, law enforcement, the police department, that have not signed on to any kind of agreement? What is the drop dead deadline in terms of being severed from city employment?
Mayor: Bob, look, we still have an open door to unions that want to come in and do that impact bargaining and come to an agreement. We had 23 unions since the October 20th announcement that have come to agreement with us. That's a striking number representing over a 100,000 employees. My hope is that anybody who still has not – in a union – that still has not come to the table, we can work things out. Let's see how that goes first, and then we can give you a better answer after that. Go ahead, Bob.
Question: But it's fair to say that it's an infinite period of time. If you could characterize, like, what do you think is in terms of people [inaudible] their lives? The fire unit that I spoke with had been in communication to members that if they're expecting some last minute reprieve, it's not going to come, and so I guess one of the things you've been looking for – is this correct that in the DC37 agreement, they had to give up litigation, is that the kind of universal settlement you're asking for? That – some kind of, not concessions, but an agreement, but it would require the unions to drop a litigation on this matter?
Mayor: Look, I mean, you've seen the pattern bargaining from the very beginning, what we did with the Department of Education, health care straight on through the mandate now, it's been very, very consistent. Best of my understanding, unions across the board have pretty much agreed to the original concept, put together in the pattern bargaining with the UFT. So, that model, you know, sometimes with minor variations, has been very, very successful for everyone involved and it stipulates how to handle a situation for each kind of employee and the choices they make. So, again, I think that's what's found to be sort of – that's been the consensus with so many unions of the way to handle it.
Moderator: Our last question for today goes to Reuvain with Hamodia.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Good morning, Reuvain. How are you doing?
Question: Good, good. How are you?
Mayor. Good, good.
Question: Good. So, I'm wanting to ask you about the ongoing issue with the union labor and Ben & Jerry's, In the past you said you stopped short of calling for divestment saying that you were hoping for a positive outcome without the divestment. At this point, it seems clear that Unilever is not going to force Ben and Jerry's to change their mind. They sent a letter to New York State when the DiNapoli asked for it, it’s saying as much. So, it seems clear that there's not going to be a positive outcome otherwise, you know, if you look at positive outcomes meaning to not to boycott the – Israel. So, the question is now, are you moving toward calling for divestment or do you still think that's not a good idea?
Mayor: I think there's a solution still possible that would be better and ideal if there's no willingness on Unilever's part, then that's a different discussion. So, this is why I say simply, I've looked at their statement. They have condemned BDS. That's crucial to me. I oppose BDS across the board and I think we have to be very clear about the dangers of the BDS movement. The fact that it undermines the possibilities of peace for Israelis and Palestinians, anyone who wants to see a peace process actually works should oppose BDS. Anyone who believes in the state of Israel and its historic place in the world should oppose BDS. I oppose BDS. Unilever says they oppose BDS. That's good. Now, what I would say before divestment is they should get one more chance to put their money where their mouth is and announce investments they will make for Israelis and Palestinians to help move forward the peace process, which really will have a huge economic component. If we're going to have peace, it will be, I think, largely through addressing a lot of the underlying economic challenges for everyone in the area and international companies investing more in Israel is part of the answer. If they make that kind of commitment, I'd be very receptive. If they refuse, then divestment becomes a much more necessary option. Reuvain, go ahead.
Question: Yeah, so you're saying you would like to see Unilever make investments, but at the same time, you're accepting that they're not going to force Ben & Jerry's hand, is that correct? Also just wanted to point out obviously your term and Comptroller Stringer’s term ends in less than two months. Do you feel any need to get this done before the end of the year? Or are you wanting to let this go in to the next terms – the Comptroller-elect Lander has made it clear he's not going to divest.
Mayor: I think it's a good time to push Unilever, to put pressure on them, to invest in Israel, to invest in Israelis and Palestinians alike for the good of everyone in the region and the good of the peace process. I think they're feeling tremendous pressure. I'm proud to be one of the people helped to create that pressure. Now the demand should be invest – the opposite of BDS. BDS takes money away from the people of a region that desperately needs investment and peace and economic progress. I think we should all use this as a moment, and I feel urgency about it, and I'll put my voice in, and I'll talk to Unilever about it, make a commitment to invest in Israel, move us forward, take a positive stance. Don't just say you're against BDS. Do something about it. Invest in Israel. That's what I'll push. If they refuse, then again, that divestment tool becomes a necessary option with that.
With that, everyone, let's just go back to where we started today. I think we have an incredible moment in this city. Here we are coming up on the holiday season, everyone, so many people are doing the right thing, getting vaccinated. Now, parents getting their kids vaccinated. We talked about what you can do to get vaccinated ahead of the holidays. The city's getting safer all the time. Meanwhile, people are coming to the city now are international travelers. People are going to come here to see family and friends for the holidays. Magical time of year. This city is moving forward rapidly and everyone wants to help it move forward, get vaccinated if you're not already, make sure that people in your life are vaccinated. So, that's something everyone can do.
And one more thing everyone can do, tomorrow, show the honor and respect we all need to feel for our veterans. As a child of a us army veteran who saw the costs of war, I saw the cost of war in his life up close personal, painfully, I also saw the honor he felt in the service he gave to his nation. We need to thank the veterans that we know in our lives, the veterans in our communities, the best way to thank them, do something for them. Offer that opportunity, offer a job, offer support if people need social services, mental health services, whatever it is. The City of New York is here for our veterans with our Department of Veteran services. Tomorrow, remember to respect and support our veterans and then every other day of the year, do the same thing. Thank you, everyone.