Restaurant defies new vaccine mandate

August 20, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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A Bay Ridge restaurant has a few choice words for the city’s new vaccine mandate.

The owners of Pasticceria Rocco, 9402 Fourth Ave., put up a sign that says, “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.”

Rocco’s co-owner Mary Josephine Generoso put up the sign after the city announced that residents will have to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars and gyms starting Sept. 13.

Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa and City Council candidate Brian Fox visited the restaurant to talk with Generoso about the problems the new rules will create for her and other small business owners.

“To the people of New York, especially business owners that are being affected right now, all the restaurants and bars and gyms, please have the courage to join and stand up,” Generoso said. “I can’t do it alone. There’s strength in numbers. We have to be united, get everybody on board to make sure that we are pushing back against this.”

Generoso also predicted that the mandate will go beyond bars, restaurants and gyms.

“Pretty soon, we’re going to have a mandate if we want to go on the bus or subway,” she said. “This will eventually affect everybody.”

Sliwa applauded Generoso and her husband Rocco for taking the risk of opposing the mayor.

“They have fired the first shot in defiance against Mayor de Blasio’s mandates,” Sliwa said. “Many of us were protesting at Gracie Mansion Sunday, but it was really Josephine and Rocco that triggered this off. They have everything to lose here. They have to live with their decision.”

“They definitely started a trend and a movement,” said Fox. “There are not enough business owners and restaurants that are as outspoken perhaps as the owners of Rocco’s, but you have a voice.”

Generoso said business owners have to be the frontline people against the mandate. 

“It’s much bigger than me or the store,” she said. “We have to stop it now.”

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