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‘This is unbelievable’: NYC business owners denounce de Blasio’s private sector vaccine mandate

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NYC business owners have lashed out at Mayor Bill de Blasio, who blindsided them on Monday by announcing that all private sector employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 27.

‘I’m not too happy with it,’ said Luis Concha, owner of Well Kept Barbershop in Astoria, Queens. ‘Now employees are gonna lose money. I’ll have to let go of people and things like that – it’s just overall bad for business.’

The city also previously required at least one dose for employees and customers aged 12 and up at indoor dining, fitness and entertainment facilities.

That group, which now includes children as young as 5, must get a second dose by December 27. Meanwhile, office workers and other private sector employees have until the same date to get their first mandatory shot. 

There is no test-out option, and remote workers are not required to get the jab. 

Business owners told DailyMail.com that while many of them have already complied with the city’s ‘Key to NYC’ rules announced in August, they believe the new rules represent an overreach from a lame-duck mayor that may end up hurting the economy.

Outgoing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new vaccine mandate applying to private sector workers at offices and other businesses on Monday

Outgoing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new vaccine mandate applying to private sector workers at offices and other businesses on Monday

The owner of the Ace of Bladez barbershop in Manhattan, above, said the new rules were bad news for the economy. 'There's a shortage of employees right now. This is unbelievable'

The owner of the Ace of Bladez barbershop in Manhattan, above, said the new rules were bad news for the economy. ‘There’s a shortage of employees right now. This is unbelievable’

Employees at indoor dining and entertainment establishments have already had to be vaccinated since August.  The manager of Giovanni's in the Bronx, above, said he wasn't too worried about the mandate

Employees at indoor dining and entertainment establishments have already had to be vaccinated since August.  The manager of Giovanni’s in the Bronx, above, said he wasn’t too worried about the mandate

Seventy percent of NYC residents are fully vaccinated. Nearly 78 percent have one dose, according to city data

Seventy percent of NYC residents are fully vaccinated. Nearly 78 percent have one dose, according to city data

Many businesses are still complaining that they can’t find enough workers during the pandemic-era economic recession, with some worrying that the extra rules will shrink an already small pool of applicants. 

Seventy percent of New York City residents are fully vaccinated with the double-shot Pfizer or Moderna or one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Nearly 78 percent have one dose, according to city data.

At a glance – what de Blasio’s new vaccine mandate will mean for New Yorkers 

  • All private employers will have to subject in-person employees to a vaccine mandate
  • There is no testing opt-out included
  • Mandate will apply to an estimated 184,000 businesses in New York
  • More information on the requirement will be revealed on December 15 
  • Children aged five an older will require proof of vaccination to dine indoors, or enter fitness and entertainment venues
  • Full vaccine sequence is required to meet mandate, either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of J&J vaccine
  • Mandate will go into effect on December 27
  • School children aged five and older who want to take part in sports, dance, band or orchestra activities will also have to receive at least one vaccine shot by December 14 

Alex Yonatanov, who owns the Ace of Bladez barbershop in downtown Manhattan, said he’s been vaccinated but that his only other employee has not.

‘If the person doesn’t want to take the vaccine, you lose the employee. Either way there’s a shortage of employees right now. This is unbelievable. If he does that mandate, we’re gonna lose more employees,’ he told DailyMail.com at his shop on Monday.

De Blasio cited the Omicron variant, which led to a travel ban of eight South African nations, as a reason for the extra push. 

‘Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,’ he said in an interview on MSNBC. ‘The timing is horrible with the winter months.’ 

Public employees in New York City are already subject to a vaccine mandate, but business groups expressed opposition to similar rules for the private sector.

Kathryn Wylde, head of the business group Partnership for NYC, blasted the mayor’s announcement.

‘There’s no forewarning, no discussion, no idea about whether it’s legal or who he expects to enforce it,’ Kathryn Wylde, the head of business group Partnership for NYC, told the New York Post. ‘There’s been no consultation.’

‘We were blindsided,’ Wylde said. ‘It’s unclear by what authority the mayor is doing this.’

De Blasio estimated that the new vaccine mandate – targeting children ages 5 to 12 and all private sector employees – will affect 184,000 private businesses.

The bombshell vaccine mandate – announced just four days before most private sector employees knock off for the holidays – will begin on December 27, though the mayor says more information will be available on the initiative on December 15.

He said during a Monday press conference that the mandate will apply to in-person employment, with any place with more than one employee on-site subject to it, and there will be no testing opt-out option.

John A. Catsimatidis, the CEO and Chairman of Red Apple Group, which operates the grocery stores Gristedes and D’Agostino throughout the city, says his employees should have a choice.

The owner of Well Kept Barbershop in Queens told DailyMail.com: 'Now employees are gonna lose money. I'll have to let go of people and things like that - it's just overall bad for business.'

The owner of Well Kept Barbershop in Queens told DailyMail.com: ‘Now employees are gonna lose money. I’ll have to let go of people and things like that – it’s just overall bad for business.’

'I don't see it impacting [business],' the CEO of the group that owns local grocery store chain Gristedes told DailyMail.com. 'By the time he'll enforce it, he won't be mayor'

‘I don’t see it impacting [business],’ the CEO of the group that owns local grocery store chain Gristedes told DailyMail.com. ‘By the time he’ll enforce it, he won’t be mayor’

‘I don’t see it impacting [business],’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘By the time he’ll enforce it, he won’t be mayor.’

In the Bronx, Alex Paval, manager of Italian restaurant Giovanni’s, said his staff was already in compliance with the vaccine mandate imposed on restaurant workers back in August.

‘Our staff is already fully vaccinated,’ he said, adding that he wasn’t too worried about the mandate’s possible effect.  

Cynthia, an employee at a Midtown marketing firm who refused to share her last name due to fear of blowback, told the Post that the new requirement is ‘another reason’ to leave the city.

‘Just terrific. Bill de Blasio just gave me another reason I need to get the hell out of New York, or at least find a job that lets me work remotely,’ she said.

Concerns about the Omicron variant, now spotted in a third of US states and in multiple countries, were part of the reason for the expanded mandate

Concerns about the Omicron variant, now spotted in a third of US states and in multiple countries, were part of the reason for the expanded mandate

‘I work in the private sector and had really hoped until just now that it would stay private, but that’s not the case. I can’t live like this. It’s really disappointing.

‘I hope the new mayor has the compassion and good sense to overturn this.’

Republican elected officials joined in on the chorus of disapproval.  

‘Mayor de Blasio can’t leave fast enough. He has crushed small business, the economy and quality of life. How many more New Yorkers does he want to see move to the free state of Florida?’ said US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn.

‘I’m hopeful the incoming mayor will roll back these arbitrary mandates,’ said US Rep. Lee Zeldin, who represents Long Island and ran for governor this year.

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