HOBOKEN, NJ — As some cities consider requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for entrance to businesses, one Hoboken councilman had a novel idea to help small businesses while keeping public health in mind.
City Councilman Michael DeFusco is proposing a measure that would provide financial incentives to local bars and restaurants that voluntarily choose to require proof of vaccination before patrons are allowed to enter their establishment without a mask.
“This is less government intervention and this is more community policing,” he said.
One suggested incentive would be a waiver for city mandated operational fees.
“Let’s waive that fee in exchange for them taking the additional accountability to help ensure that everybody that is dining in their space is vaccinated,” DeFusco said.
While the guidelines for inquiring about a patron’s vaccination status are still being streamlined, DeFusco says businesses will be able to opt out, which is not the case in nearby New York City, where an ordinance prohibits anyone who can’t provide proof of vaccination from entering the premises of some businesses.
Jimmy McCue, owner of the popular Texas Arizona hangout, said while he sees the benefits in DeFusco’s plan, he’s not signing up anytime soon.
“All this does is give us more things to worry about and to do,” McCue said. “We are already struggling with operating during a pandemic and now I have to play judge, jury and executioner? No thank you.”
A spokesperson for Hoboken told PIX11 that Mayor Ravi Bhalla hadn’t had a chance to discuss DeFusco’s proposed measure with local businesses.
“Councilman DeFusco does not collaborate or share his ideas with the Administration before issuing press releases,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added tha the administration had just launched a $2 million Small Business Grant program that includes an incentive for vaccinated employees of the city’s small businesses.