The manager of a New York City pastry shop says she’s ignoring the new vaccine mandate for diners – but ‘isn’t sure what she’ll do’ if officials show up

Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Brooklyn pastry shop Pasticceria Rocco says it's ignoring New York City's new vaccine mandate.
  • "It's not political ... It's about civil liberties and freedoms," the manager told the NY Post.
  • New York has been deemed a "high transmission area" by the CDC.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A New York City pastry shop says it is defying a vaccine mandate for diners.

Under the "Key to NYC" program, people 12 and older are now required to show proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before entering a public venue.

Mary Josephine Generoso, who manages Pasticceria Rocco pastry shop and diner in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said she is ignoring the rules not for "political" reasons, but to uphold "civil liberties and freedoms."

Soon after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the program on August 3, Genoroso put a sign in the shop window. "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," the sign said.

"For me, it's not political - most of my customers are vaccinated," Genoroso said in an interview with the New York Post. "It's about civil liberties and freedoms. Now we have to be in a society where people can't roam freely and enter my place of business if they want to? How is that OK in the United States of America?"

New York has become a "high transmission" area for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 has spread rapidly in the city: The latest data, released last week, shows that the variant accounted for 90% of tested cases over a four-week period.

Generoso said she hadn't been approached by city officials yet, and told the Post that she "isn't sure what she'll do if they show up at her door."

"It's scary. I feel like we will be made an example of," Generoso said. "Honestly, I put the sign up because I was hoping that other business owners would also have the courage to speak out. But it is mainly our customers who have reached out in support."

Some high-profile New York restaurateurs have supported the New York program, including Danny Meyer of the Gramercy Tavern and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin.

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