Civilian inspectors from 13 New York City agencies will on Monday begin observing venues in the five boroughs to ensure restaurants and other indoor settings adhere to the new vaccine mandate, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“We don’t want to fine; we just want to make sure people are safe,” de Blasio said Thursday during his daily press briefing. “Our goal here is to confirm compliance.”
When the enforcement of the “Key to NYC” regulation goes into effect on Sept. 13, civilians from the FDNY, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Sheriff’s office, Department of Transportation, Department of Sanitation and a slew of other agencies will be tasked with monitoring compliance of it, according to the mayor.
“We want to help people succeed,” he added. “No one is starting this out with the intention of fining. We don’t want to fine; we just want people to be safe. We want to make sure people are doing things the right way.”
De Blasio’s outlining of his approach to administering the mandate comes after the program went into effect on Aug. 17 without potential punishment for rule breakers. Starting Monday, the city can begin issuing fines — $1,000 for a first offense and $2,000 for a second — to indoor businesses that don’t ensure their spaces are off limits to people who don’t present proof they’ve been inoculated against COVID-19.
Melba Wilson, owner of Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem, said the upcoming colder weather will make the mayor’s indoor-setting vaccination requirement even more necessary.
“It’s about to get cold in New York City, so outdoor dining is not going to be an option for too much longer,” Wilson said. “We want to make sure people who enter our establishments they’re going to be vaccinated.”
The mayor’s indoor setting vaccination mandate applies to those who want to enter movie theaters, restaurants, professional sports venues and cultural intuitions like museums. Movie buffs, foodies and patrons of other indoor spaces only need just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and do not need to wait for the jab to take full effect, the mayor has said.
Children under 12, who are not yet eligible to get jabbed, are allowed to accompany vaccinated adults provided they wear a mask when not eating, de Blasio has clarified.