New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams will keep a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place for private-sector employers, embracing a policy previously established by outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Adams unveiled his plan to battle the winter surge at a news conference Thursday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, making the vaccine mandate a key part of his strategy, which he called a “holistic approach.” Adams’ plan comes as New York City has found itself as an early epicenter of the omicron outbreak in the U.S.

"Our focus is vaccine and testing, vaccine and testing, vaccine and testing,” said Adams, who is due to take office Saturday. “We're going to be saying that over and over again. Somebody should put that on a T-shirt, vaccine and testing.”

Adams’ winter COVID plan focuses on six “pillars,” including vaccination, supporting hospitals and congregate settings, testing, treatment, slowing the spread of the virus, and safer schools. Adams' winter plan also calls for the creation of a color-coded system for assessing the threat of COVID at any given time, as well as what additional restrictions may be put into place.

De Blasio, Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced part of the plan for New York City schools earlier this week. It calls for doubling surveillance testing in city schools and distributing more than 2 million at-home tests to people exposed to the virus in classrooms. Students are scheduled to return to classes January 3rd after the winter break.

New York City’s vaccine mandate for the private sector took effect Monday, requiring employees to immediately provide proof of at least one dose and at least two doses within 45 days.

But until Thursday, Adams hadn’t said whether he would extend the mandate into his term.

At the news conference, Adams was joined in person by city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi and virtually by Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Adams’ pick to take over the agency in March.

Chokshi said the Adams administration will focus more on “compliance” and “not punishment” when it comes to enforcing the mandate, a strategy echoed by Adams himself.

“The goal is to be cooperative and not punitive,” Adams said. “We saw a punitive response. We’re going to give support, and we’re going to communicate.”

The number of people currently in New York City hospitals with COVID has more than tripled in two weeks, with the seven-day average jumping from 1,000 to 3,178, according to state Department of Health data. Of those, 369 were in intensive care units.

The jump in hospitalizations has followed a steep rise in the number of positive COVID cases, which exceeded 27,000 in the city on Monday and 39,000 on Tuesday and have been steadily rising since late October.

An average of 15% of COVID tests a day came back positive in the city the week ending Tuesday, according to the state.

Adams is scheduled to be sworn in just after midnight Saturday at the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. Last week, he scrapped a plan for an inaugural celebration at the King’s Theater in his home borough of Brooklyn, citing the rise in COVID cases.