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Vaccine Mandate Suit from NYC Restaurant Owners Could Shape Broader Policy   Featured

New York City’s recently penned executive order mandating that restaurant patrons must be vaccinated in order to dine-in is shaping up to be a litmus test for how other municipalities and governments around the nation handle post-vaccine life. The ink on the page had barely dried before a group of restaurant owners filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court challenging the order.

As such, the Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue filed a lawsuit in Richmond County on Tuesday, August 17, citing a number of issues with the mandate. “Faced with arbitrary, irrational, unscientific, and unlawful vaccine mandates in the form of NYC Executive Order 225 (the ‘Executive Order’) enacted by Mayor Bill De Blasio putatively to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the so called ‘Delta Variant’—mandates that would severely impact Plaintiff-Petitioner’s business, life savings, and livelihood—Plaintiff-Petitioner seek a permanent injunction against NYC Executive Order 225 to prevent such damage from occurring.”

The executive order covers everything from indoor food service establishments to gyms, movie theaters, concert venues and other recreational locations. In those locations, patrons, employees, contractors and volunteers will not be allowed to enter “without displaying proof of vaccination and identification bearing the same identifying information as the proof of vaccination.”

From Twitter

LifeLove @2021Freedom1776

"Backlash erupts as rollout of vaccine passport checks gets under way at NYC restaurants, with some business owners branding the move ‘segregation’ https://t.co/vIttAMsWkM?amp=1"

Noteworthy in the order, though, are some of the exemptions included. Some individuals will be allowed to enter without proof-of-vaccination so long as they are masked and maintain a six-foot buffer from anyone else in the building. Among those exempt include individuals entering “for a quick and limited purpose” like those using a restroom or picking up an order. Additionally, nonresident performers who are not regularly employed by an establishment, nonresident athletes or sports teams who enter a premise as part of their work and those accompanying those artists and athletes are also exempted.

From Twitter

Joe Borelli @JoeBorelliNYC

"So average New Yorkers are not exempted from @NYCMayor vaccine mandate, but fancy singers, their entourages, and production staff can perform in crowded live venues. Makes total sense you guys, COVID rules." 

Exemptions aside, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the order pointed to the economic damage COVID-19-related lockdowns, quarantines and mandates have already levied against small businesses as reason for the action. “The Covid-19 Pandemic has been a fact of life since early 2020. There have been mandatory lockdowns, mask mandates, capacity limits, and many other restrictions imposed by City, State and Federal Government since the beginning of the pandemic,” reads the lawsuit. “These restrictions have severely and irreparably damaged small businesses all over the City.”

Further, the restaurant owners also took issue with the fact that unlike other executive orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 this order does not provide an option to use negative tests as acceptable substitutes. “Also, there are no accommodations for those who cannot get the vaccine,” reads the lawsuit.

Read the newly filed suit in its entirety.

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