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NEW YORK — As the clock ticks toward New York City’s new private sector vaccine mandate, businesses big and small still had questions about how it will be enforced.

The mandate, expected to take effect on Dec. 27, will not allow regular COVID-19 testing as an alternative.
Doughnuttery, a small business with three New York City locations, has several dozen employees.

“There is still a lot of questions as to how it’s going to be implemented, how it’s going to be policed, how it’s going to be upheld, and as a small businesses owner, we need to know those things so we know how to communicate those things to our staff and how to conduct our business,” owner Evan Feldman said.

According to Feldman, a majority of Doughnuttery’s employees are vaccinated, but there are some holdouts. Even though it’s a food service business, there is no seating. So, it’s not covered under the previous restaurant vaccine mandate.

While many details still need to be worked out, he said “there is some relief because it takes the decision out of the small business owners’ hands, and it makes it a rule or law they have to follow.”

Announced Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said vaccine mandate specifics would be clarified on Dec. 15. The mayor appeared on the PIX11 Morning News Tuesday.

“We are going to work with the private sector right now to figure out the rules. But let’s remember why we are doing this. We know something already about the Omicron variant. This variant moves fast. We have to move faster. We have to protect the lives of New Yorkers. We have to make sure we never go back to shutdowns and restrictions,” he said.

The mayor said he is confident the mandate will stand if challenged in court.

“So far, every time there’s been an effort to delay any of these mandates for public safety, public health, the courts have said no. It is the right of the health commissioner. I do not expect delays,” Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday.

Michael Schmidt, a New York employment attorney, said he expects to see people try to challenge the mandate.

“We’ve also seen around the country a lot of litigation pop up resulting in stays of enforcement. So, the next couple of weeks, I think, will be interesting to say the least before we even get to [Dec. 27],” Schmidt said.