'We have to open up,' Mayor Adams says of business-related COVID closures in NYC

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
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Jim Dolan has more on New York City Mayor Eric Adams' pushback on companies starting to delay their planned reopenings.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams pushed back on companies starting to delay their planned reopenings to most of their employees in response to the omicron variant.

Some have already pushed back previously set start dates for at-home employees to resume returning to their desks.

Over the weekend, Goldman Sachs joined a growing list of Wall Street firms advising employees already back at work to stay at home until January 18.

"We have to open up," Adams said on CNN in the face of increasing cases. "What we must understand is the resiliency of returning back to a normal life. If we don't open our cities, there are almost a million people that are behind in their rents right here in this city. We have low-skilled employees who can't do remote employment from home or telecommuting. That's not a reality in a city like New York and America. I need my cities to open."

ALSO READ | NY COVID-19 hospitalizations spike to peak levels, but deaths lower

The mayor suggested that "doubling down" on vaccinations and booster shots was the way to manage the virus while still being able to reopen.

"We have to reshape our thinking of, how do we live with COVID?" Adams said. "We spent $11 trillion on COVID. We don't have another $11 trillion. Every variant can't be another $11 trillion. It's time to open up and feed our ecosystem, our financial ecosystems. That's what I am telling my employees."

Additionally, Adams signed the "Small Business Forward" Executive Order to reform existing business regulations to ensure local businesses face fewer needless fines and penalties.

The Executive Order builds upon Local Law 80 and calls on the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, Fire Department, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to review business regulations with the goal of reducing fine schedules and allowing for cure periods or warnings for first-time violations.

"Our small businesses have been through so much during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said. "The last thing they need to deal with are unnecessary fines. We're cutting the red tape and bringing real relief to the entrepreneurs who have made their dreams a reality and keep our local economy strong."

The Executive Order will require that within three months, each agency will identify the 25 violations that are responsible for the greatest number of summonses and fines issued to small businesses and submit the following:

--Recommendations for which violations should be reformed via elimination, scaled back fine schedule, or allowance of a warning/cure period

--If no reform action is recommended for a violation, provide an explanation as to why the status quo should be maintained

--Identify the necessary actions for reform

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