New NYC COVID Mandate Guidelines for Private Businesses Unveiled, Employers Say It’s ‘Bad Policy’ – New York Daily News


Mayor de Blasio provided more details Wednesday on how the city will carry out its mandate that businesses ensure employees receive at least one dose of the COVID vaccine – and the new rules will involve many outfits. records and the possibility of fines.

The mandate, which de Blasio announced last week, requires all employees reporting to work in person to have at least one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27 — but until Wednesday, city guidelines for new rules had not been clarified.

Under these guidelines, which were announced at a press briefing at City Hall and posted on the the city websiteTens of thousands of Big Apple companies will have to keep proof of employee vaccination records, as well as records of whether workers have been granted reasonable accommodation for refusing the vaccine, whether for medical or religious reasons .

Companies will need to verify proof of vaccination before allowing workers to enter the workplace and keep a record of this verification. Outside contractors working on a site will also be required to provide proof of vaccination through their employer.

“This is the first national action on the private sector requirement for vaccines and is necessary to protect public health and safety,” said city health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.

De Blasio suggested the city would not take an aggressive approach to enforcement – at least initially.

“We want a cooperative and positive approach,” he said of law enforcement efforts around the new mandate. “If we find a problem, we just ask the company to fix it, fix it.”

That’s the approach the city has taken so far with a separate vaccination mandate for people visiting restaurants and venues — and so far, Hizzoner said, it’s worked.

Despite de Blasio’s optimistic outlook, the new corporate mandate also includes a provision that allows the city to levy fines of up to $1,000 for each time an employer breaks the rules.

“In very, very few cases we have had to apply sanctions,” de Blasio noted, referring to the mandate regarding restaurants and venues. “But very rarely. The goal is not to penalize. The goal is simply to make it work.

However, businesses in the city don’t see the new guidelines as that simple.

Thomas Grech, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, called the $1,000 fines “ridiculous” and expressed dismay for businesses, which will now have to consider whether employees qualify for medical or religious exemptions.

“Our small businesses are now being asked to be medical experts in determining whether people are eligible for a medical exemption and will have to determine if an employee is exempt for religious reasons, jeopardizing the relationship between employers and their employees,” a he declared. “It’s another slap in the face for small businesses trying to keep their heads above water.”

Business leaders weren’t the only ones furious with the city’s new guidelines on Wednesday – which come just two weeks before de Blasio leaves office.

New York City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) also criticized the mayor for the decision.

“The mayor doesn’t have the power to kick down the door of an insurance agency and gather people at the water cooler,” he said. “It turns out that people have rights, and many businesses aren’t licensed or regulated by the city government. The mayor could have announced it by talking to a wall.

The city’s lead attorney, Corporation Counsel Georgia Pestana, countered that the city had the authority to issue and enforce the warrant. She also noted that employers with four or more employees should already be equipped to determine whether or not an employee has a reasonable accommodation.

“According to the law, when a person cannot comply with a requirement or needs an accommodation to be able to do their job, they – the employers – undertake the reasonable accommodation process,” she said. . “So it’s not a foreign concept to the overwhelming number of employers in New York.”

While that may be the case, Randy Peers, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, predicted that businesses will have a lot to digest in a relatively short period of time.

“It’s bad policy, and it won’t solve COVID,” he said. “It could make the already bad situation for small businesses worse.”

Peers said not only does having to determine reasonable exemptions for COVID vaccines place an additional burden on business owners, but having to lay off employees because they are not vaccinated will also cause problems when the employers are already struggling to identify new hires.

Given that the mandate will begin to take effect on December 27, just four days before de Blasio leaves, Peers said he hopes Mayor-elect Eric Adams will reconsider it.

“I hope one of the first things the new Adams administration looks at is this ridiculous policy,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

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