Michael Musto cannot resist asking his Staten Island customers at Cargo Cafe to confirm that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus.
So if New York City presses on with its plans to require eateries, bars, gyms and many other public gathering places to require patrons to show proof of vaccination before coming indoors, he will again shutter his dining room and move operations outside.
Musto stated, “I don’t see me doing that, asking proof.” According to statistics from the city, only half of his neighbors have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Despite a recent increase in infection rates in the area, some residents are still resistant to getting vaccinated.
“But now, do I have to abandon my customers?” Musto asked.
Tuesday’s announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio was that the city would require anyone eating indoors, exercising at a gym, or enjoying cocktails at a bar to prove they have been immunized. These workers would have to show proof that they have received at least one shot.
The move is being closely watched by other U.S. communities — perhaps as a model but also as a possible example of governmental overreach.
The country has been faced with a difficult decision for months about how to curb public life. This includes how to gather people, where they should gather, and whether or not they should wear masks. Also, how to get them vaccinated.
“Anything less that vaccination isn’t going to get me where I need to go,” said the mayor, a Democrat.
De Blasio stated, “It’s quite straightforward.” You check their vaccination status. It’s great if they have it. Turn around if they don’t have it.
Officials from the city said that details were still being worked out. This includes enforcement and consequences for businesses who refuse to comply. Inspections will not start until Sept. 13. Inspections would not begin until Sept. 13.
The policy could be challenged by business owners, who might argue that the city has overstepped its authority or is not applying it in an equitable manner. For example, some religious groups have successfully challenged the state pandemic rules which set limits on capacity for houses of worship but not other liquor stores or bike shops.
Scott Burris, a Temple University law professor, is the Center for Public Health Law Research director. He said that while legal challenges are possible there is likely enough precedent for New York City’s impending vaccination rules.
He said, “It’s really a no shirt and no shoes, no service thing.” To receive service, proof of vaccinations will be required.
New York City isn’t mandating residents get vaccinated, but it is trying to persuade them by making them not able to participate in certain aspects of public life. Most children must show proof of vaccinations against a variety of childhood diseases before they can enroll in public schools.
Burris stated that “we’re not going see vaccination wagons out there on Fifth Avenue lining up people.” “We are not going to see the government mandate people be vaccinated. It will be delegated by employers, restaurants, gyms, and so forth.
New York City has generally reopened its economy since the outbreak. Restaurants and bars have welcomed back customers to their establishments.
Tourists such as Vasu Pabbaraju who are visiting San Jose, California are also returning. His family was snapping photos in Times Square, before they snatched a table at an Olive Garden nearby.
He has a picture of his vaccination card on his smartphone and would readily provide proof of vaccination if asked. It won’t offend me. He said that it makes me feel more at ease knowing I’ll be eating with people who have been vaccinated.
Sarah Dubois, visiting from Las Vegas, agreed. She said, “I’d prefer things to get back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Her companion Mitch Silver from Waterbury, Connecticut saw things differently.
He said, “I don’t like the idea.” “I don’t believe it should be mandatory by the government.”
Silver stated that he would still produce his vaccination card if requested.
Broadway already requires that all audiences present proof of vaccination in order to view performances. Cast and crew members would also need to be vaccinated.
However, the worry did not end. The organizers of this year’s New York International Automobile Show were forced to cancel Wednesday due to the increase in COVID-19 delta and the “intensified measures” announced by officials from the state and local governments to stop its spread.
Musto, a Staten Island restaurateur, stated he would adhere to the rules. He hopes that it will allow the city to move forward in its goal of getting more New Yorkers vaccinated.
“It could be a scare tactic. “Hopefully it will work,” Musto said, adding that he and his employees had been vaccinated.
Musto took over the business months before the outbreak that forced the city to close down bars, restaurants and other public spaces.
He said, “I cannot afford to have everything closed again.” “If that happens I may have to close the shop permanently. “I’m not in a position to go backward.”