The public inauguration of Eric Adams, New York City’s next mayor, is being postponed indefinitely over the latest surge in coronavirus infections, his transition office announced Tuesday.
Adams will still be sworn in on New Year's Day, in a private ceremony just after midnight.
The public ceremony, typically held every four years on Jan. 1, was to be at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn at night — a break with the tradition of holding it in lower Manhattan outside City Hall — in order to accommodate Sabbath observers.
But on Tuesday afternoon, Adams’ office made the postponement announcement in a joint statement with Jumaane Williams, who was reelected as the city’s public advocate, and City Councilman Brad Lander, the incoming comptroller.
"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," the statement said. "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."
On Tuesday morning, the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, warned of a "rough few weeks" caused by the virus’ omicron variant.
Still, he said, symptoms are generally mild, and the city’s hospitals are expected to bear the burden without being overwhelmed.
The tradition of inaugurating at City Hall dates to Jan. 1, 1898, when the five boroughs were united into greater New York City, and Robert Van Wyck became mayor.
Rarely if ever have public inaugurals for elected mayors in New York City been canceled for any reason, much less abruptly.
The year 1917 brought a break to the tradition, when John Francis Hylan was sworn in at a private ceremony across from City Hall, opting for a small ceremony bereft of pomp.