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: NYC restaurants sue city over ‘arbitrary’ proof of vaccination rule

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Just as soon as New York City’s proof of vaccination rules went into effect at restaurants, bars and gyms, some local restaurant owners are suing to strike them down, saying the requirements will inflict too much damage on their business.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proof of vaccination order is “arbitrary, irrational, unscientific and unlawful,” according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday by small business owner plaintiffs including two restaurants, a bakery, personal training studio and the Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue, an advocacy group.

Earlier this month, New York City became the first major metropolis to announce vaccination proof rules for customers in certain establishments including indoor restaurants, bars and gyms. Before then, some bars and restaurants were already making the decision to ask customers for proof.

Since New York City unveiled its rules, cities like New Orleans and San Francisco announced their own similar orders.

New York City’s rules — which require proof of at least one jab — took effect on Aug. 17 and enforcement begins Sept. 13.

By requiring proof at drinking establishments, eateries and gyms, the city is holding one portion of businesses to a tougher standard than others, the lawsuit alleged.

Other commercial businesses such as grocery stores and hair salons don’t have to ask customers and workers about proof of vaccination, the filing noted.

The lawsuit is a courtroom test for a new method to prod vaccination and fight rising COVID-19 case counts. Judges have already ruled that employers and universities can require vaccination for work or presence on campuses. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate for students and employees.

“I’ve had the conversation with the Law Department, tremendous confidence that we’re in a very strong legal position,” de Blasio said Wednesday when asked about the lawsuit filed in Staten Island’s state court.

Representatives for the plaintiffs could not be immediately reached for comment.

As of Wednesday, 75% of all adult New Yorkers have at least one of the COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to Ted Long, executive director of the city’s testing and contact tracing efforts.

Just over 72% of the country’s adult population has at least one dose and 61.8% are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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