NYC COVD vaccine enforcement begins; 300,000 city employees return to work

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByDiana Rocco, Eyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, September 13, 2021
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The grace period is over, and New York City is now fining businesses that do not ask for proof of vaccination.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The grace period is over, and New York City is now fining businesses that do not ask for proof of vaccination.

The policy went into effect last month for indoor public spaces, like restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says enforcement will be handled by civilian inspectors from 13 different agencies who will be making sure businesses are telling customers about the requirement and checking for proof of vaccination.

"Obviously there are violations and there are penalties," de Blasio said. "But really what we're going to do is have our inspectors out from 13 civilian agencies, and they're going to be checking is there a good protocol in place? Do they see the protocol working? Are the signs up?"

Signs are posted at restaurants that proof of vaccination is needed to eat inside, with options including a CDC card along with state and city apps that work like the Excelsior Pass.

"They feel safe knowing that their severs, their cashiers, they're all vaccinated, they don't have to worry," Empanada Mama manager Brittany Doyley said. "We've gotten a little bit of negative (feedback). Some people are like, 'Well it's my body, my choice.' But we also have to think about other people."

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There is also the option to eat outside for those who don't show proof they've had at least one shot.

De Blasio said fines, which start at $1,000, are not the goal.

Meanwhile, the entire city workforce of 300,000 returned to the office, though not everyone is happy about it.

Some of the workers rallied on Sunday to protest the city's vaccine and testing mandates.

DC 37 is the city's largest public union, and they say they would like return to work delayed until January due to the delta variant.

"This has no basis in science, this has no basis in health, this has no basis on every public policy," DC37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. "This is a political call by the mayor to rush back to normalcy. In fact, we should be erring on the side of caution and protect workers first."

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DC 37 and rallied with other unions Sunday, but the mayor has stood firm.

"Our workforce is going to come back, coming back with a very clear standard: get vaccinated or get tested weekly or there are consequences, we're not playing around here," de Blasio said. "But this notion of putting off, and we're trying to kill COVID once and for all and really end the COVID-era, no, we're going to show it can be defeated and we're going to lead the way here in New York City."

The state of New York has pushed back the return of its employees to October 12.

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