To vax or not to vax: group sues de Blasio over Key to NYC
City mandate for proof of vaccination for indoor activities challenged in court
A group of individuals including right-wing political candidates have filed a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio, claiming that his requirement that customers show their vaccine cards in order to partake in indoor activities is unjust and discriminatory.
The plaintiffs vary from restaurant owners who claim to have lost business, to customers who don’t want anyone aside from their doctors to know about their vaccination status.
Under the executive order — known as the Key to NYC — guests who want to participate in indoor dining, gym workouts or similar indoor activities must show proof of at least one dose of a vaccine. Workers at such locations must also be vaccinated.
The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, claims that de Blasio fails to make accommodations for those who are unable to be vaccinated and that the law itself is arbitrary and beyond his power.
The plaintiffs include mayoral candidate William Pepitone, Public Advocate candidate Anthony Herbert, congressional candidate Tina Forte and Staten Island Borough President candidate Leticia Remauro.
Pepitone, a retired police officer, is running for mayor on the Conservative Party ticket, and Herbert is on the Conservative line for Public Advocate, having lost his Democratic primary challenge to incumbent Jumaane Williams.
Throggs Neck native Forte is running under the GOP banner to challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th congressional district. Forte attended the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, and according to a report in Politico, was photographed “wearing what appears to be black body armor” and doing a “white power hand gesture.”
Remauro lost the Republican nomination to former Congressman Vito Fossella by 300 votes, but will appear on the November ballot on the Conservative line. She had made headlines earlier this year after a video went viral of her saying “Heil Hitler” at a January protest against the city’s Covid restrictions. Remauro later apologized for what she called “a very bad analogy.”
Last week, the Mayor faced a similar lawsuit from a less colorful group of restaurants and fitness venues.
A representative from the Mayor’s office declined to provide comment on the new lawsuit, but pointed The Real Deal to the mayor’s comments, made last week, in response to the first lawsuit.
“I’ve had the conversation with the law department, tremendous confidence that we’re in a very strong legal position,” de Blasio said during a press conference August 18. “We’re in a global pandemic still. The decisions that have been taken, have been taken with the leadership of our health officials who have been fighting this battle from the beginning.”
The lawyer on behalf of the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.