HANNAH BLEAU Some New York City restaurants, which were battered last year over the extended shutdowns during the height of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, forcing thousands to close for good, are concerned over the implications of the city’s vaccine mandate, which forces them to discriminate against unvaccinated individuals.
Enforcement of the policy, which forces businesses such as restaurants to ask patrons to present proof of vaccination before entering the establishments, began September 13. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) office said it handed out 3,200 warnings to businesses that violated the rule last week alone. Businesses that fail to comply can face fines of up to $5,000.
“It’s gonna hurt my business for me to lose customers, to lose relationships with customers. We’re a neighborhood restaurant,” restaurant owner Massimo Felici said, according to NY1. According to the outlet, Felici said the mandate, barring unvaccinated people from dining indoors, has had a negative impact on his business.
“They’re making us police this. We are getting the ripple effect. We’re getting assaulted for it, accused for it whatever you wanna call it. That’s it. Period. It shouldn’t be us,” he added, noting the rules remain unclear to most, as unvaccinated individuals can still dine outdoors.
“You’d be surprised how many people are confused about what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. If you read that, it makes it sound like you cannot come into my restaurant for dinner if you do not have the vaccination,” he said of the city’s signs.
Tom Casatelli, another local restaurant owner who has been targeted and fined in the past, said the mandate is going to hurt already struggling businesses battered by the pandemic shutdowns.
“You’re already struggling and like a lot of small businesses you’re getting hit with fines on top of reduced seating, reduced revenue, reduced ability to staff your restaurant and increase your payroll,” Casatelli said.
Per the outlet:
Casatelli filed suit against the city, claiming the indoor dining vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.
He says it’s not just for his business.
“I’m scared for not only my business. I’m scared for every business in New York City and I’m scared for every business in the United States of America,” said Casatelli.
Last month, Joe Fauci, a distant relative of Dr. Anthony Fauci and owner of Staten Island’s La Fontana and La Fontana Sorellena and distant relative to Dr. Anthony Fauci, questioned how officials will police the rule.
“I don’t see how we’re going to police this,” he told the New York Post. “If a guy comes in without a valid [vaccination] card, how can we police it? We can’t call the big database.”
“All we’re doing is going back to things that didn’t work,” he added.
Mayor de Blasio, however, is proud of the Key to NYC Pass and has essentially bragged about cutting off unvaccinated individuals from everyday activities.
“The Key to New York City. When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated, they can do all the amazing things that are available in the city,” he said in August.
“And if you’re vaccinated, all of that’s going to open up to you. You’ll have the key, you can open the door. If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things,” he continued, adding it is “time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life.”