Adams to NYC Businesses: Tell Customers to Unmask

By Matis Glenn

FILE – New York City Mayor Eric Adams attends a a news conference, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Once mandated to be worn indoors in most city venues, New York City Mayor Eric Adams says it’s time to end indoor masking culture – at least when entering establishments.

In an interview with WINS, Adams said “We are putting out a clear call to all of our shops: Do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask,” Adams said Monday . “And then once they’re inside, they can continue to wear it if they so desire to do so.”

Adams says that under the guise of being health conscious, criminals are able to commit robberies and shoplift, while making it very difficult for police to catch them.

“Let’s be clear, some of these characters going into stores that are wearing their mask, they’re not doing it because they’re afraid of the pandemic, they’re doing it because they’re afraid of the police,” Adams told PIX. “We need to stop allowing them to exploit the safety of the pandemic by wearing masks, committing crimes.”

Forcing customers to unmask at least when entering stores would allow them to be seen on surveillance cameras, and if a customer refuses to comply, store employees would know to be wary, because “if someone is violating the basic rules, they may be there to violate a substantial rule as to commit a crime.”

Adams’ call comes on the heels of NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffery Maddrey’s similar advice to store owners last week, which marked the first time a city official has publicly called for unmasking since the pandemic.

But many businesses say that the mayor’s plan won’t work.

A Brooklyn store owner who was a recent victim of a robbery told the Post that the mayor’s comments were “easy for him to say.

“What am I supposed to do? Ask every man, woman, kid who walks in to buy a juice to take their mask off?” the merchant said. “So, they take the mask off — then they rob me. How am I supposed to be safe? I have to make a living. What am I supposed to do, close up shop?”

Some in the law enforcement community believe asking customers to unmask can cause more harm than good.

One police officer told the Post that “If you tell one of these guys in the ‘hood’ who’s coming out to get a beer to take his mask off,” such a person could become violent.

A Bronx cop said that the city should be investing in helping store owners with “better cameras, plexiglass, panic buttons.”

A police officer in Manhattan called the suggestions “just another desperate act by a desperate administration.

“What store owner or worker wants to have an unnecessary confrontation with a possible criminal?” the cop said. “It is not worth it for them. The mayor should be worried about the people in Albany and try getting them to change the laws.”

When a critic told Adams that his suggestion was “really putting the onus on the stores,” the mayor answered the NYPD was doing its part by “beefing up our coverage in those BID [Business Improvement District] areas, those high-shopping areas, and we’re also beefing up our surveillance and practices.”

Incidents of citywide store theft in 2022 – 63,000 – broke the previous record set in 2021, with an increase of 45 percent.

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