Small enterprise house owners sue New York Metropolis over vaccine regulation
Earlier this month, the city announced a new rule requiring people to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 before they dine indoors, visit a fitness center, or go to the gym an indoor entertainment place. Anyone who works in the affected companies must also be vaccinated. The rule went into effect this week and the city plans to enforce it on September 13th.
“This vaccine mandate is arbitrary and capricious in that it targets certain facilities but not others,” the plaintiffs, led by a group called the Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue, wrote in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. They said that the rule prevents people who choose not to have a vaccination from doing their job and that it violates their freedom of religion. They are demanding an injunction against the order.
When asked about the lawsuit during a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said he had “enormous confidence that we are in a very strong legal position” limiting comments when a lawsuit is discussed.
“We need to get more people vaccinated,” he said. Using strategic methods to increase vaccination rates, especially among young people, is “mission critical” to stop the spread of the delta variant, he said. Across the city, 57% of residents and 68% of adults are fully vaccinated, according to NYC data, which also shows Covid-19 cases have increased since early July. Experts warn that cases will continue to rise in the United States as long as large parts of the country remain unvaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective and recommend that eligible people get vaccinated. New York City isn’t the only place that requires proof of vaccination for certain activities. San Francisco plans to introduce a similar rule on Friday and others are considering their options. And the French parliament recently passed a law requiring a “health passport” with proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for entering restaurants, bars and long-distance travel on trains and airplanes.
Restaurant groups and owners had mixed feelings when the New York City mandate was announced earlier this month.
The “requirement is far from ideal,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, adding that it “would present restaurants with economic and operational challenges.” However, he noted that the requirement “may ultimately prove to be an essential step”. The NYC Hospitality Alliance was not part of Tuesday’s lawsuit.
Some restaurants told CNN Business at the time that they welcomed the move, saying it would help improve the playing field between restaurants and protect employees and customers.
– CNN’s Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.