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NYC Hospitality Alliance: Mayor De Blasio 'Grinch' For Vaccine Mandate That May Keep Tourists With Young Children Away

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was new fallout Tuesday from the city's new vaccine mandate which goes far beyond any other in the nation.

Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks everything will work out, but many businesses are concerned about the impact it will have on the holiday tourist season, which is just starting to make a comeback.

In fact, demonstrators gathered at night outside the mayor's house in Park Slope, Brooklyn to protest. Police said there were no arrests or incidents, but tensions were high due to the unpopularity of the mandates, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.

The sweeping rules pertaining to private businesses mean children ages 5-11 will have to show proof of vaccination to eat in restaurants, or to go to shows, movies, museums and other forms of entertainment, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Announces Vaccine Mandate For Private Companies 

De Blasio may have thought of himself as a COVID hero -- Captain America -- for imposing stringent new rules requiring kids to be vaccinated, by next week by the way, in order to enjoy Christmas in the Big Apple. But people in the restaurant and entertainment industry have another name for him.

"It's really like the Grinch," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

Yes, Rigie said the mayor's new vaccine mandates make him seem like the Grinch who stole Christmas. But others in the the city's pandemic-decimated restaurant and entertainment fields feel he's more like an evil magician, who, with one sweep of his mandate wand, is trying to turn back time -- and turn the bustling Times Square of today back into what it looked like during the dark days of the pandemic.

A tale of two cities, so to speak.

"Our city's restaurants and other small businesses have been decimated by the pandemic. We were hoping for a busy holiday season, people were going to come here support our businesses, support our workers, and now, boom, it's another thing that's going to hurt these businesses even more," Rigie said.


Rigie said he has been inundated with frantic requests for information, like in an email from a Belgian couple planning to come to New York City for Christmas with children ages 6 and 9. They said if the new mandate applies to them, it "will mean a disaster for us and and many other families."

De Blasio announced Monday that starting Dec. 14, children 5 to 11 must have at least one vaccine dose for indoor dining, fitness or entertainment.

This will also apply to high-risk extracurricular activities in schools.

Those 12 and older will be required to show proof of two doses by Dec. 27. That's the same deadline for private sector workers to be vaccinated.

"It's a little difficult, but it's the life, what are you going to do? This time, this pandemic, is very difficult for everybody," Olympic Flame Diner employee Polito Sierra told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis.

Employees at the diner say they'll continue to follow the rules put in place to keep people safe.


The new mandate comes as four more cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in New York State, though Delta still accounts for most cases.

That brings the total to at least 12 statewide, and 14 throughout the Tri-State Area.

While health officials are still working to learn more about the new variant, the local cases appear to be mild.

"The mayor should be slapping us on the back and encouraging us instead of saying, halt, we're going to change things, especially during the holiday season when this is our most important time of year to build back tourism," said Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas of the Broadway Association.

It's especially important for Broadway, as the Broadway Association said 65% of admissions during the pre-pandemic 2018-2019 season were tourists.

"This is our shot to really make it back and we need it. Tourism is so vital to New York City's economy. It's a $40 billion industry, and at one point 300,000 New Yorkers were in the tourism trade. We should be trying to get those folks back to work," Lategano-Nicholas said.

WATCH: Marcia Kramer's 6 p.m. Report

The mayor said he's not worried that his actions will keep tourists away, and he has a solution.

"Anyone who comes here, we're going to provide vaccination if they need it. We're happy to provide that," de Blasio said.

Free shots. That's the mayor's solution.

"So people are supposed to come here to the U.S., they're gonna get their kid vaccinated. God forbid their kid gets sick for a day or two. They're going to sit in a hotel room. Then, what are they going to do, extend their trip for two weeks so the kid can get the second dose of the vaccination? It really doesn't make sense," Rigie said.

De Blasio said he is not buying claims that his plan will result in disaster.

"We got you covered. You want to take your kid to a restaurant and they're not yet vaccinated? Hey, this is a great message to parents and I'll look at the parents, 'Hey, get your kid vaccinated today. This is exactly the time we need to keep them safe,'" de Blasio said.

Eric Hrubant, president of CIRE Travel, argued rules may actually encourage some people to visit the Big Apple.

"It's gonna give people a certain amount of safety and peace of mind who want to get out and go do things in our great city," Hrubant said.

Meanwhile, a court hearing is set for Monday on the city's vaccine mandate for municipal workers, including first responders. A judge granted the hearing to determine whether there will be a temporary restraining order.

CBS2's Ali Bauman and Jenna DeAngelis contributed to this report, which first appeared on Dec. 7.

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