A group of small businesses is suing New York City, hoping to stop the requirement to show proof of vaccination for a variety of activities for workers and customers such as indoor dining, gyms, and performances. Businesses that were hit especially hard by the pandemic and are still struggling to recover. The plaintiffs include Deluca’s Italian Restaurant in Staten Island, Staten Island Judo Jujitsu, Max’s Esca, and Pasticceria Rocco in Brooklyn
The plaintiffs claim the order is arbitrary and capricious, since not every indoor venue is included, the choice of certain vaccine thresholds is not defined and that ignoring natural immunity and counting first doses as eligible show a lack of scientific grounding since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers two weeks after a second dose to be a full vaccination. In addition, the businesses believe there should be exemptions for people with certain medical conditions or religious beliefs.
The lawsuit was filed in Richmond County Supreme Court and has the support of some of the elected officials there. Mayor de Blasio has argued that the vaccine mandate and other measures are needed to curb the surging Delta variant which has proven to be far more contagious. The executive order took effect on August 17th with full enforcement and inspections slated to begin the week of September 13th. Noncompliance to the Order will result in a fine, penalty and forfeiture of no less than $1,000, and will increase with continued violations. To show proof of vaccination, you can show your paper vaccination card, the Excelsior pass, or the NYC COVID Safe app
Perhaps to strengthen the City’s case against such lawsuits, perhaps because of new data, or a mix of both, NYC announced a larger list of establishments covered by the mandate, broken out into three section. A full list of activities covered in the order is below: