NEW YORK — Bill de Blasio doesn’t want Mayor Eric Adams to turn the page on his signature pandemic policies just yet.

As COVID-19 cases continue to tick up across the five boroughs, the former mayor urged his successor Friday to be ready to rapidly reimplement some of the public health restrictions he has scrapped since taking over the helm at City Hall.

Careful not to directly knock Adams, de Blasio said he “won’t criticize” the mayor’s decision to rescind the Key2NYC indoor vaccine mandate and the public school face mask mandate earlier this year.

“But I’d say this as a friendly reminder: Keep those strong tools available. You may need them real soon,” de Blasio said in an appearance on WNYC.

As mayor, de Blasio implemented the school mask requirement and Key2NYC, which required proof of vaccination for indoor activities like dining, drinking and fitness. Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner under de Blasio, said earlier this year that the mandates saved lives.

As case rates began to plummet, Adams lifted Key2NYC in March, opening the door for unvaccinated people to begin patronizing restaurants, bars and gyms again. Around the same time, Adams also dropped the K-12 school mask rule and relaxed the city’s private sector vaccine mandate to exempt professional athletes and performers.


Since those policy reversals, COVID-19 infections have increased significantly, with the city reaching a “medium” COVID risk alert level on May 2 after months on “low.”

Health Department guidance for the medium risk category recommends that Adams consider reinstating Key2NYC. So far, he has refrained from doing so.

But Adams spokesman Fabien Levy said the mayor has not ruled out reintroducing the de Blasio era mandates.

“As the mayor has said, COVID is a formidable opponent, and we need to be willing to pivot and shift just like COVID pivots and shifts,” Levy said.

Also in his WNYC appearance, de Blasio was asked about Adams’ crime-fighting agenda.

“Obviously there are individual issues that we could agree or disagree on, but I think people need to give this some time,” said de Blasio, who supported Adams’ campaign last year.


De Blasio did not elaborate on where there might be friction between him and the mayor on public safety issues. However, Adams has brought back a modified version of the NYPD’s plainclothes units — which were disbanded by de Blasio in 2020 following long-running allegations of police misconduct in their ranks.

De Blasio, who has since leaving office confessed to making various “mistakes” over his eight years in City Hall, said he ultimately retains a lot of respect for the mayor.

“I feel empathy for my successor because it’s just nonstop in a way that I don’t think that any other experience I’ve ever had in my life even comes close to,” de Blasio said.