In a press release, Hoboken First Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco called on Mayor Bhalla to financially incentivize local bars that voluntarily choose to “require proof of vaccination before patrons are allowed to enter an establishment without a mask.”
According to Councilman DeFusco, in return for doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, bars and other eateries would be granted a waiver on daily parklet costs, or other City mandated operational fees, for the remainder of the year.
“Those who do not wish to participate would be subject to the fees as written in Hoboken’s outdoor dining regulations. Unlike in New York City, no one would be prohibited from entering a business based on their vaccination status, unless new statewide guidelines are issued,” it continued.
“The Delta variant of COVID-19 has proven to be significantly more contagious than any previous strain of the virus and with the number of bars and individuals who come to our city for nightlife activities, Hoboken is uniquely situated to be at an even greater risk of infection,” said Councilman DeFusco. “Incentivizing businesses that are willing to take additional measures to prevent the spread of this virus, specifically tightly packed bars, is a win for both public health and safety in our City and provides additional relief for small businesses who have struggled to make ends meet over the past year and a half.”
Last week, Mayor Bhalla signed an executive order mandating municipal employees to either get vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing.
DeFusco is asking Mayor Bhalla to immediately begin implementing a vaccine incentive program for businesses. Presenting this as an ordinance would require two meetings of the City Council and for the Mayor to sign this into law – which could be an almost two-month process.
Hoboken’s new City spokeswoman Marilyn Baer told Hudson County View – “We’ll consider any measures that would address vaccination rates. The City is happy to consider any and all initiatives to increase vaccination rates. However, Mayor Bhalla has not seen Councilman DeFusco’s proposal as the Councilman does not collaborate or share his ideas with the Administration,” she said.