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NYC Businesses Take Legal Action Against De Blasio Over Vaccine Mandate

AP Photo/John Minchillo

With New York City’s vaccine passport going into effect this week, meaning all customers and employees must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination in order to enter indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, life in the Big Apple just got a lot harder for small businesses owners who are still struggling to recover from last year’s harmful lockdown policies and health precautions. 

But not everyone in the city is taking Mayor Bill de Blasio’s order lying down. The Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue filed a lawsuit against the Democrat mayor, seeking a court order to block the new executive order, according to The Washington Post. 

The group, which represents dozens of businesses in Staten Island and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, argued the mandate is discriminatory, arbitrary, and severely impacts their livelihoods. 

The businesses, including Pasticceria Rocco, DeLuca’s Italian Restaurant and Staten Island Judo Jujitsu, called the requirement irrational and questioned the efficacy of vaccines. It is “an uncontested fact that unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals can both contract Covid-19 and the so-called ‘Delta’ variant, further illustrating the arbitrariness of this executive order,” they said in the complaint. 

“Restaurants, and gyms too, have borne the brunt of the the pandemic mandates,” said Mark Fonte, a lawyer for the group. “Restaurants are basically being forced to act. They’ve been deputized as law enforcement arm for the mayor against their will.” […]

The suit cites statistics from December, before the more contagious delta variant emerged, showing that most of the state’s infections came from social gatherings in private homes. The businesses also argued that they were unfairly targeted, because other establishments where people congregate, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and churches, are not covered by the mandate. (WaPo)

Speaking to Fox News about the lawsuit, Rob DeLuca, owner of DeLuca's Italian Restaurant, said it's not the job of restaurant owners to check customers' medical information. 

"We're in hospitality, we're not there to be Gestapos, we're there to give people a nice evening out," he said.

Another plaintiff, Staten Island Judo Jujitsu Dojo owner Joseph Cannizzo, told Fox Business the executive order is a "death sentence" to small businesses. 

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