Brooklyn business owner stands up to vaccine mandate, wont turn away unvaccinated customers

A New York business owner says she will not turn away unvaccinated patrons despite the city’s mandate that all businesses must enforce.

“We do not discriminate against any customer based on sex, gender, race, creed, age — vaccinated or unvaccinated — all customers who wish to patronize are welcome in our establishment,” reads a sign outside of Rocco’s pizzeria in Brooklyn.

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“Once I heard the mayor come out and speak at the beginning of August stating that we were going to have to check vaccine status, I instantly thought that was so un-American. I could not understand how we were going to start discriminating against people who weren’t vaccinated,” said Rocco’s manager Mary Josephine Generoso in an interview with local media.

Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented his “Key to NYC Pass,” which is essentially a vaccine mandate for all New Yorkers who seek to participate in society. If business owners do not enforce the vaccine mandate, they could face fines up to $1,000 for a first-time offense. Mayor de Blasio said the city would take an “escalator approach” and increase fines and penalties for repeated offenses.

Generoso says it is none of her business why someone would choose not to get vaccinated and urged the Mayor to rethink his mandate.

“I really feel like people should be able to enter an establishment if they choose to, whether they’re vaccinated or not,” she said.

In a recent interview, de Blasio pushed back on the assertion that the vaccine mandate is discriminatory.

“It’s not discrimination. It’s about protecting people,” de Blasio said. He clarified that the Key to NYC vaccine mandate does not apply to customers who quickly run into a business to make small purchases or pick up takeout or to-go items.

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Critics of the vaccine mandate claim it amounts to modern-day segregation, keeping unvaccinated black people out of society.

“As NYC’s Covid vaccine verification mandate goes into effect tomorrow, it will be one of the darkest days this City has ever seen. Make no mistake about it, banning over 60% of Black New Yorkers from all restaurants is systemic racism,” tweeted art dealer and publisher Eli Klein.

Vaccine data for New York City shows that only 28% of black New Yorkers ages 18-44 years are fully vaccinated, whereas 52% of white citizens and 48% of Latino residents in that same age category are vaccinated.

RELATED: NYC’s vaccine mandate criticized for disproportionately affecting African-Americans