New York City business owners speak out against new vaccine mandate for kids: We're 'not the vaccine police'

'The real victims are the businesses,' argues Tyler Hollinger

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Two New York City business owners spoke out against the Big Apple’s vaccine mandates for kids on Wednesday during an appearance on "Fox & Friends," arguing that businesses are suffering as a result of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new requirements.  

"The bars and restaurants, the hospitality industry, is not the vaccine police for the mayor," said NYC Festival Cafe owner Tyler Hollinger. "We are not being compensated in any way, shape, or form—and the real victims here are the businesses."

Hollinger said that it is "insane" for businesses to be expected to kick children and families out of establishments, especially during the holiday season, when tourists pay exorbitant prices for travel and lodging to stay in the city. 

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Jeremy Wladis, President of the Restaurant Group, said that businesses that do not cooperate could be fined and ultimately closed. He called some of the policies in place were "unfair" and "ridiculous," and essentially forced stores to be their own bouncers and doormen. 

Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio attends the opening of a vaccination center for Broadway workers in Times Square on April 12, 2021 in New York City. 

Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio attends the opening of a vaccination center for Broadway workers in Times Square on April 12, 2021 in New York City.  (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Wladis added that he understands the importance of getting everyone vaccinated, but proposed that such requirements should occur in a timeframe that works for small businesses, big businesses, and the people of NYC.

NYC began enforcing new vaccine mandates on December 27, just days after Christmas. The new requirements set forth by Mayor de Blasio stipulate that restaurants, fitness facilities, movie theaters, museums, aquariums, zoos, bowling alleys, and more must ask for proof of vaccination for children as young as five. 

Vaccine Mandate sign at Burger King Fast food restaurant, Queens, New York. 

Vaccine Mandate sign at Burger King Fast food restaurant, Queens, New York.  (Lindsey Nicholson/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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On Tuesday the mayor dismissed concerns that the new mandates would impact small businesses, saying, "Even though I always appreciate any concern, if folks in the restaurant community have a concern, if some of our visitors have concerns, I obviously appreciate that deeply. We want to be responsive in every way."

"But at the end, the number one job is to protect people," said de Blasio.