Business owners furious at Hochul’s mask or vaccine warrant

Governor Kathy Hochul’s new mask or vaccine term is like a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking to some small business owners.

Empire State retailers slam Hochul’s new directive that will require workers and customers to wear masks or show proof of vaccination from Monday, another challenge for struggling businesses at its strongest of the holiday shopping season.

“This is not good for us small businesses,” said Jaser Bsharat, manager of his Harlem Furniture family on 125th St. “You can tell a customer to wear a mask or give them one, but you can’t force him to wear it. “

Bsharat said he has already closed his online business due to shipping delays, so if he can’t get people to the store, “We’re bankrupt.”

Others criticized the penalties which could result in a fine of up to $ 1,000 per violation for homeowners.

“It’s the people who don’t want to wear the mask (who) should pay the $ 1,000,” said Mahamada Camara, who works at a Kennedy Fried Chicken on 125th St.

Camara said it was already difficult to get clients to cover their faces.

“The people of New York are not listening. When they ask for food and I tell them to put on a mask, they want to fight against me when I tell them to leave, ”Camara said.

He called the mandate “bad for business”.

Governor Kathy Hochul recently demanded that all businesses and restaurants require staff and customers to show proof of vaccination or wear masks.
Debra L. Rothenberg / ZUMA on the news wire

“I’m already losing business. It will only get worse, ”he said.

But at Martin Brothers Wine and Spirits on Broadway and 107th St., director Felix Sanchez called the directive “appropriate.”

“Either way, everyone has been wearing a mask since the start of the pandemic. Everyone will adhere to it ”, he declared.

In small towns in the northern part of the state, the governor’s demands are not realistic for some.

“I can’t stand at the door and be the vaccine police. It’s not possible for us and as a small business I don’t know what the answer is. I know this won’t shut us down anymore, ”Lynette Thayer, owner of The Mason Jar store in Clayton, told WWNY-TV.

Heidi Owen West, who owns a clothing store in Saratoga Springs, said the timing couldn’t be worse.

Spectators wear masks to attend a performance of "The Lion King," on Broadway at the Minskoff Theater on September 14, 2021, in New York City.
Some business owners worry that the state’s new mandate may discourage customers from coming.
Charles Sykes / Invision / AP

“It looks like it needs to be implemented by Monday morning; I say what a brutal delay for a business owner to try and put together something new, especially during the busy holiday season, ”Owen West told WRGB Albany.

The mandate will be in effect until January 15 and it will be up to local health departments to enforce it.

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