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Staten Island Business Owners, Lawmakers Push Back On City's Upcoming COVID Vaccine Mandate

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Republican lawmakers on Staten Island are fighting against the city's upcoming COVID vaccine mandate, calling it "unfair."

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis joined business owners and community leaders outside a restaurant on Amboy Road Friday to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse the new requirements, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported.

"We believe that this is an overreach of government," Malliotakis said. "From an unvaccinated individual's point of view, they feel that they are being left out of everyday activities."


New York City is the first in the nation to require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, entertainment and performance venues. It takes effect Aug. 16.

The owner of Aunt Butchie's Restaurant said he's worried he'll lose customers.

"How are the restaurants supposed to police this? I'm going to have to hire people to stay in the front to card everyone before they come into the restaurant," said Peter Marcolini.

Charlie Cassara, president of the Fitness Coalition, said it's easier for gyms to enforce the mandate by keeping clients' vaccine status on file. But he believes it's a double standard.

"My entire family is vaccinated. We are for people getting vaccinated. But here's the thing, if vaccinated people can transmit COVID, we know we can and we can get it again, and the unvaccinated obviously can get it as well, why segregate the two? I don't get it," Cassara said.

Business owners said they've been told a taskforce will start enforcing the regulations - checking that everyone inside has had the shot - on Sept. 1. But they haven't been told yet if there will be financial penalties for not complying.

Councilman Joe Borelli said it shouldn't fall on businesses to pay for other people's choices.

"It's not this restaurant's problem. It's the person who's not vaccinated. If they choose not to get vaccinated and something happens to them, it's no one else's choice but theirs," Borelli said.

A protest outside Gracie Mansion is being planned for Aug. 15, the day before the mandate is set to take effect.

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