Mayor Eric Adams announced this week that the city will try to stop masked criminals by pressuring businesses to ask customers to take off their masks before entering. Adams stated in an interview on Monday that store and bodega owners should “not allow anyone to enter the store without taking off their face mask,” arguing that this would deter both theft and “severe crimes” equally.
Consumers would still be permitted to cover up inside, but only until security cameras captured their faces, according to the mayor. He stated at a news conference on Tuesday, “We became so used to masks that we don’t understand there’s a significant volume of people that are wearing it not because of COVID, but because they’re criminals. “Without having the video monitoring, we’re letting the repeated offenders continue until we find them.”
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According to Adams, the city has teamed up with a bodega organization to make signs requesting that customers remove their masks for a moment. Union Bodegas of America representative Fernando Mateo referred to the policy as “crucial to our city” during a press conference on Monday outside a deli on the Upper East Side where a worker was fatally murdered during a heist last week.
The 67-year-old employee was shot and killed by a gunman who is still at large and was wearing a mask, according to the NYPD. Mateo stated,
“These crooks have grown so accustomed to doing it, so accustomed, that they are doing it frequently and things go out of hand, and people are killed. “We are making every effort to keep our city safe,”
Adams’ comments on Tuesday were similar to those made by Jeffrey Maddrey, the NYPD department chief, who first suggested the policy at a press conference late last month. We’re requesting that local companies need identification and a face-to-face encounter with customers, Maddrey added. “Before the pandemic, most establishments wouldn’t let you enter wearing a mask and rubber gloves.”
According to NYPD data, the city experienced 17,411 robberies in 2022, up from 13,371 in 2019 and 13,831 in 2021. In comparison to 2,465 robberies during the same period last year, the NYPD has recorded 2,415 robberies citywide as of February 26.
Adams responded on Tuesday that he was “not going to interpret the fear of someone because fear is tailored to who you are and how you’re feeling” in response to questions about whether the regulation would make immunocompromised New Yorkers frightened to enter establishments.
I have to accept that if someone has immunosuppression and thinks that if they remove their mask for three seconds, they might catch something. Yet he also claimed that other New Yorkers weren’t wearing masks with COVID-19 in mind. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that everyone who is wearing a mask is immunocompromised, he advised. “Don’t buy that hustle,” I said.
The mayor recommended a proposal Mateo proposed on Monday: businesses, including as high-end jewelry stores, should think about utilizing a buzzer system to detain consumers who refuse to unmask outside. To show that we are not attempting to single out anyone, Mateo stated, “for those who want to perhaps criticize what we are asking for, we invite them to come and work one day or one night in a bodega and live what these individuals are living. We simply want to return to our families’ homes in one piece.