City Begins Enforcing Vaccine Mandates for Public Spaces, But Courts Issue Stays on Mandates for Some Workers

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 15, 2021

The grace period is over: New York City has started enforcing its previously announced vaccine mandate for public spaces, Crain's New York Business reported

The mandate was first announced early last month, and while it has technically been in effect since Aug. 15, it hadn't been enforced until now. Under the mandate, both employees and customers of the city's indoor gyms, restaurants and entertainment venues must soon provide proof of vaccination. All affected customers and workers can either provide their vaccination cards or upload their proof of vaccination to the Excelsior Pass application. Violations can lead to fines of $1,000. 

So far, no fines have been levied, though Crain's said that inspectors this week have given out 353 warnings. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wants businesses to succeed in meeting the mandate, saying they do not want to issue fines if they don't have to, adding no one has come into this intending to fine. He did, though, point out that the fine for a third violation is $5,000. 

While the grace period was meant to let businesses adjust and prepare, Crain's said many of them decided they wouldn't start checking vaccination proof until the day enforcement formally started. 

On Tuesday, however, a New York State Supreme Court judge issued a temporary stay of New York City's vaccine mandate for Department of Education (DOE)  workers. The mandate would have required DOE staff  to provide proof that they'd gotten their first dose by Sept. 27. and to receive the second dose within 45 days.

Also on Tuesday, a federal judge in Utica issued a temporary restraining order against a New York state vaccine mandate on all health care workers. That mandate was schedule to take effect on Sept. 27.

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