With his vaccine mandate for private businesses going into effect on Monday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio tried pacifying the overall anger by saying that the new rule will yield few penalties for Big Apple businesses, declaring “we’re not trying to do gotcha” on the first day of the policy taking effect.
According to the Mayor, city inspectors will adopt a teaching-first approach that prompts “rare” fines, comparing the strategy to City Hall’s enforcement of the indoor setting vaccine requirement, which produced few fines.
Possibly an aim to tackle the furor over the draconian new compulsion, de Blasio said during the virtual press briefing, “We will give a penalty if someone flatly refuses, but that’s very rare. So our inspectors will be out there energetically but with the goal — educate and correct — [and] ideally avoid penalties.” He also added that only flagrant, professed rule-breakers will be assessed fines by workers from the city Department of Health and other agencies.
“We’re trying to make sure everything is moving forward,” the mayor said. “If the inspectors go and a business says, ‘I absolutely, positively refuse’? Of course, they’re going to get a fine. If someone refuses, of course, there’s penalties, but very, very few people do, is our experience with the really substantial body of work we already have,” he added, referring to the “Key to NYC” indoor-venue proof-of-inoculation requirement.
As of now, fines for non-compliant businesses start at $1,000, and rise for repeat offenders, but there is no certainty that this will continue once Mayor-elect Eric Adams, takes office on Jan 1, 2022.