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Political Litigation

Restaurant Owners Sue New York City Over New Vaccine Mandate

— August 19, 2021

The lawsuit alleges that New York has needlessly endangered restaurants, gyms, and certain indoor entertainment venues with targeted restrictions.

A group of restaurant and small business owners has filed a lawsuit against New York City and its mayor, Bill de Blasio, who recently announced that only vaccinated customers can be allowed access to certain consumer amenities.

According to CNN, New York City recently imposed a rule requiring that people show proof of vaccination against novel coronavirus before being allowed to dine indoors, go the gym, or attend any inside-only entertainment venue.

Furthermore, New York has ordered that everyone working in affected businesses and sectors be vaccinated.

The lawsuit, led by a group called the Independent Restaurant Owners Association, claims that New York has unfairly and capriciously subjected certain industries to its harsh new rules.

“This vaccine mandate is arbitrary and capricious due to the fact that it targets certain establishments but not others,” the lawsuit states.

New York traffic. Image via Pexels/Pixabay. Public domain.

Interestingly, the complaint alleges both that the vaccine mandate will prevent unvaccinated people from doing their jobs and that it “discriminates” against those who might claim religious exemptions.

“The executive order has rendered it impossible for anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated, for whatever reason, to work in the designed industries, wholly depriving them of their livelihood,” the suit adds.

Nevertheless, Mayor de Blasio has defended his administration’s policy, recently telling reporters that he has “tremendous confidence that we’re in a very strong legal position” to defend the order.

“We’re in a global pandemic still,” he said. “The decisions that have been taken have been taken with the leadership of our health officials who have been fighting this battle from the beginning.”

“We must get more people vaccinated,” de Blasio told reporters after being asked about the lawsuit. “

New York, notes NBC News, is the first major city in the United States to announce any sort of vaccine mandate. However, other urban areas—including San Francisco and New Orleans—have since followed suit, and are expected to implement their own renditions of the order in the coming days.

NBC observes that, in spite of the lawsuit, some businesses have signaled their support for de Blasio’s pandemic-control measures.

Starr Restaurants CEO Stephen Starr, for instance, told NBC’s “Squawk Box” that he and most of his staff area enthused about the rule.

“Overwhelmingly, we are getting support in emails and letters and the occasional whacky email telling us we are violating their constitutional rights,” Starr said. “The staff can’t wait.”

However, other restauranteurs told the station they are worried that vaccine mandates may drive some employees away. And, with the restaurant industry experiencing a critical and near-unprecedent labor shortage, it could be difficult to replace workers who choose to quit rather than be vaccinated.


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Restaurant owners sue New York City over vaccine mandate

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