According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants and bars—many of them independent, mom-and-pop establishments across America—were put out of business in 2020 by COVID-19, in no small part by the seemingly endless, ever-morphing rules, regulations, and restrictions imposed by left-wing Democratic mayors and governors.
How many more have gone under since then isn’t clear, but a great many of those now-shuttered businesses are—or were—in New York City. Now, outgoing leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio seems bound and determined to kill off as many more as he can before he leaves office on Jan. 1 as what TV game shows used to call “a lovely parting gift.”
On Aug. 17, Mr. de Blasio imposed a first-in-the-nation requirement that would-be indoor diners have to present proof of vaccination—along with an ID—if they want to eat indoors at restaurants in the Big Apple. (Most restaurants and pubs don’t have outdoor seating, and it’s of little value in winter in any case.)
“The ID requirement is to help reduce fraud,” New York City Council member Mark Levine—like Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat—helpfully explained in a tweet, seemingly oblivious to the glaring “hypocrony” (hypocrisy and irony) of requiring an ID to dine at a restaurant while his party vehemently opposes requiring one to vote. In case he missed it, voter-ID laws also help reduce fraud.
This, by the way, would be the same Mr. Levine who in August 2015 exulted in a tweet about a lawsuit in Texas: “Finally, a court rules that voter ID law is a civil rights violation.”
New York City’s restaurants and bars are far from the only businesses that have been dragooned into enforcing this excessive and manpower-intensive exercise, which is presumably in addition to masks and social distancing. So have many other establishments, from gyms and dance studios to bowling alleys and billiard parlors to movie theaters and sports arenas.
Those businesses won’t be compensated for the involuntary servitude involved in enforcing the draconian “Key to NYC Pass” passports, so just call this what it is: In Washington parlance, it’s a costly unfunded mandate, one that most can ill-afford.
But happily, Mr. de Blasio is getting pushback from some New York City restaurateurs, who are suing to overturn Hizzoner’s latest coronavirus diktat, strict enforcement of which won’t begin until Sept. 13. (San Francisco, New Orleans, and Chicago have since imposed similar proof-of-vaccination restrictions, and we have it on good authority that the powers-that-be in the District of Columbia are looking to impose something similar here, perhaps as soon as Sept. 7.)
There’s a further irony in the left’s hearty approval of the Big Apple’s requirement of patrons of businesses having to present an ID (along with proof of vaccination). Namely, Mr. de Blasio’s fiat will have what the racial-bean-counting left decry as a “disparate impact” on minorities in Gotham.
Just 28 percent of black New York City residents between the ages of 18 and 44 have been vaccinated, compared with about 52 percent of white residents, according to the city’s own data.
If it’s supposedly “racist” to require an ID to vote, as Democrats insist, then aren’t New York City’s new vaccine passport and ID rules, ipso facto, also racist and, in Mr. Levine’s formulation, a civil rights violation?
So, where’s the outrage from the left that blacks are being disparately impacted by New York’s new “No soup (or bowling or ballgames or much of anything else) for you” diktat?
A great many bars and restaurants in the city have gone belly-up since the beginning of the pandemic, and for many of those that have survived and are even now still struggling to stay afloat, the new regulations easily could prove to be the coup de grace. Hopefully, the N.Y. restaurateurs’ lawsuit will get that unfunded mandate thrown out.