Businesses Sue New York City, Mayor de Blasio Over COVID-19 Mandate

Businesses Sue New York City, Mayor de Blasio Over COVID-19 Mandate
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn, New York City, on Sept. 15, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Zachary Stieber
A group of restaurants and other small businesses sued New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday for requiring customers show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter many indoor establishments.
De Blasio’s mandate is “arbitrary, irrational, unscientific, and unlawful,” the business owners said in the 18-page suit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court.

Plaintiffs noted that the mandate contains no exceptions for people who cannot get a vaccine or those who had COVID-19 and have recovered, as studies have shown they enjoy some protection against re-infection.

It also does not allow customers to choose instead to wear a mask or provide a negative COVID-19 test.

“It is against certain religious beliefs to inject a relatively unknown foreign substance into ones body. By mandating such a thing, the Mayor is essentially violating people freedom of religion,” plaintiffs argued.

“Also, by mandating all employees of certain establishments to be vaccinated while knowing in is against certain groups religious beliefs, an argument could be made that the Mayor is in essence forcing employers to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Plaintiffs also said the mandate doesn’t make sense because it targets some businesses, such as gyms, but not others. That violates the Equal Protection Clause, the lawsuit asserts.

De Blasio told reporters in Manhattan on Wednesday that he has “tremendous confidence” that the mandate is legal. The city’s law department declined to comment via email.