New York City has ordered private businesses with indoor locations to post signs requiring workers to protect themselves from getting Ebola virus or to wear protective gear during business hours unless federal officials say otherwise.
The on-line order stems from a lawsuit filed last month by a cleaning company that claims that the controversial no-mask law violated the First Amendment right to free speech.
A federal judge last week declined to block enforcement of the so-called mask and gloves law that city officials have consistently defended as an important tool to contain the virus.
The Times Square Alliance, which represents thousands of businesses and sponsors the popular annual Fourth of July fireworks display, filed a federal complaint last month asking for a court order that would require businesses with indoor locations to comply with the requirement.
The order issued by a state judge applies to downtown Manhattan and some parts of Midtown Manhattan, as well as to the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
The law, approved by the City Council in September, states that “to avoid infectious diseases, and to protect themselves and their co-workers from passing on diseases such as Ebola or other infectious or contagious diseases, city establishments must install appropriate sanitation and health precautions in every interior work space except for a five-foot radius in areas where workers are showering or changing their clothes.”
The law carries a $200 fine for failing to comply with the order, which does not apply to medical facilities or restaurants.
Small business owner Kashif Shah, owner of Integrity Cleaning Services, which employs workers at high-profile venues such as Time Warner Center, said in a statement issued June 4 that he was “disappointed that the city chose to ignore the Constitution and its own prohibition on mandatory vaccinations.”
“It’s more than ironic that the people who wear gloves and masks all the time are calling this ridiculous,” Shah said.
Messages left with Shah were not immediately returned.
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