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New York Mandate Podcast
New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 26: Massage Therapist Erica

New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 26: Massage Therapist Erica

“You get to a point where it’s like you against the world” A conversation with Erica, who sold her part of the massage therapy business she co-owned and moved to PA under NYC’s vaccine mandate.

“There doesn't seem to be an appropriate level of concern that dissenting views are just shut down with ad hominem attacks on you as a person. . . . What does that mean for our country if we don't have truly free speech? And what does it mean for our healthcare if they're passing actual laws in California that make it unlawful to disagree with what the government says is good for you? That's really scary.” - Erica

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In this episode of the New York Mandate Podcast, I talk with Erica, a massage therapist who had been working at the same small business for 20 years when the pandemic hit. She had been a co-owner in the business for 12 years, and her business partner was in favor of getting vaccinated and complying with New York City’s vaccine mandate for private employers.

Erica did not want to get vaccinated or support the mandate. To resolve their differences, Erica sold her part of the business. She and her husband also decided to leave New York and move to Pennsylvania.

Erica talked with me about how pandemic lockdown and mitigation policies affected her business, the differences of opinion that arose between herself and her coworkers, and her decision to sell her share of the business and leave New York.

We also talked about the broader principles she sees at stake in public policy related to the pandemic, the role of censorship, and why she continues to talk and write about these issues.

If you think it’s important for people to hear Erica’s story, please share it! You can help build a public conversation about vaccine mandates by sharing the New York Mandate Podcast.


More from Erica:

Read Erica’s blog: Distressed Liberal

Here are some videos and links related to things we talked about during the episode:

Assembly Bill No. 2098
This California bill has been signed into law and is scheduled to take effect in January 2023. It designates “the dissemination of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or "‘COVID-19,’ as unprofessional conduct” on the part of medical professionals, which is punishable by law.

Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty
This is Emily Oster’s article in The Atlantic, proposing a “pandemic amnesty.”

This piece by James Edward Taylor is a response to Emily Oster’s article:

Think for Yourself
If You Don’t Want to Be In the Dark
We were in the dark! cries Emily Oster in the Atlantic. Really? Because from where many of us were standing, it sure seems like some folks were deliberately trying to keep the lights from coming on. Really pouring their nuts and guts into it, actually…
Read more

The Drug that Cracked COVID
This May 2021 article by Michael Capuzzo covers early treatment of COVID-19 and Ivermectin.

At an October 2022 European Parliament hearing, Pfizer executive Janine Small stated that Pfizer did not test its COVID-19 vaccine for preventing transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in clinical trials.

Dr. Pierre Kory and others testified at this December 2020 Senate hearing about early treatment of COVID-19.

Judicial Watch Uncovers Biden Administration Propaganda Plan to Push COVID Vaccine
The organization Judicial Watch obtained documentation from the U.S. government about its collaboration with media outlets to promote COVID-19 vaccines.

Estimated Cost of Treating the Uninsured Hospitalized with COVID-19
This 2020 paper discusses Medicare payments to hospitals for COVID-19 patients, as well as supplemental payments made by the federal government under the CARES Act.

“Key to NYC” Vaccination Mandate Executive Order
The “Key to NYC” mandate required both employees and patrons of restaurants, entertainment venues, and gyms to show proof of vaccination. It began on August 17, 2021, and was lifted on March 7, 2022.

Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace
This is the order that former Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued on December 13, 2021 requiring all workers in New York City who worked in a workplace or interacted with other workers or the public to be vaccinated. The order was rescinded on November 1, 2022.

New York Teachers for Choice
This organization of teachers and parents opposes medical mandates for employment. It was founded by New York City teacher Michael Kane.

About the New York Mandate Podcast

The New York Mandate Podcast is an ongoing series of conversations exploring the costs and consequences of vaccine mandates in New York City. I talk with workers who have been directly affected by the mandates, as well as legal and policy experts.

In late 2021, the City introduced a series of requirements for workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. These requirements were put in place through executive orders issued by the administration of former mayor Bill de Blasio. They covered nearly all workers in New York City, in both the public and private sectors.

Current mayor Eric Adams continues to support vaccine mandates, which currently cover all City employees. The Adams administration made the private-sector vaccine mandate optional on November 1, 2022, and is now encouraging employers to put their own vaccine requirements in place.

The views expressed in the New York Mandate podcast are the personal opinions of the people speaking, and are not intended to provide medical or legal advice.

Join the Conversation

Have you lost your job, been put on leave, or lost opportunities to work as an independent contractor as a result of your decision not to comply with a New York vaccine mandate? Did you take a vaccine against your wishes in order to keep your job? Please get in touch with me at

No One You Know
New York Mandate Podcast
Conversations with New Yorkers who are bearing the costs and consequences of New York's COVID-19 vaccine mandates.