Mayor Eric Adams Interfaith Breakfast 2023

NYC Mayor Takes Hard Line on Crime—Wait, No … on Masks?

Eric Adams proves he is incompetent once again.

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He wants to be known to New Yorkers as another “tough on crime” mayor, but all that means is that he hurls cops at homeless people while simultaneously blaming women for being victims of crimes. Now, the NYC mayor is going after another NYC staple: masks.

If you haven’t been to New York, let me be the first to tell you, it’s a dirty place. It is covered in trash. Garbage bags line the streets. Rats with wings pick at dumpsters full of restaurant waste. And people drop their trash right where they are standing. The sidewalks are crowded. The streets are congested. And the subway cars are full to bursting.

Every day, a New Yorker must navigate through throngs of humanity just to do their laundry or get to work. Because of the close-quarters living and the devastating effect that Covid-19 had on the city, masks are a common sight. People wear them on trains. People wear them in stores. Some people even wear them in bars. You still can’t sit in a Manhattan theatre without having to wear a mask for the duration of the show. In short, masks are now so commonplace that no one notices them. Except, of course, for Eric Adams.

Adams put out a call to all shop owners in New York City to require people to remove their masks when entering stores. The effort is in response to a surge of shoplifting in the city. Adams proposes that shoplifters and other criminals have become emboldened by the mask-wearing culture of New York City, and that people often wear masks not because of the very real fear of Covid-19 infection, but because they are afraid of police “catching them for their deeds”.

NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey concurred with Adam’s statement (surprise, surprise) saying: “As a sign of a peace offering, a sign of safety to those store workers, when we walk in, we should take down our mask”. Maddrey called the proposed practice “a commonsense approach.”

The new protocol is likely a response to a recent string of robberies across multiple boroughs by an armed assailant wearing a mask. One of these robberies resulted in the death of a store clerk. The President of the United Bodegas of America (because that’s a thing apparently?) also agreed that the mask-removal policy would be effective. “You’re going into a small business, into a bodega, be ready to take your masks off,” he said at a sidewalk news conference.

Adam’s directive is a direct contradiction to well-established Covid-19 safety and prevention measures that have been adopted by the city. According to Adams, he doesn’t think that people keep their masks off for the entire time that they’re in the store. Rather, he wants shop owners to demand that people remove their masks before entering and then they can continue to wear their masks “once they’re inside”. So someone can just flash their face, step inside, put their mask back on, and steal shit anyway. Who is this helping Eric?

The internet has taken to criticizing Adam’s directive further, saying that it is discriminatory to people who are immunocompromized. Essentially, the practice would require people with disabilities to expose themselves to potential infection in order to be granted access to a store. Now keep in mind, this directive is going to have absolutely zero real-world effects. It is not a law. It is not a city or state order. It is up to shopkeepers to enforce, and they ain’t gonna enforce nothing. How do I know? Because there is so much foot traffic in the city that it would effectively be impossible to require every single person who enters a store to do this.

The guys running the local deli aren’t going to do it. It’s too much work and they already have 1,000 other things to worry about. Big stores aren’t going to do it either. Somewhere like Target would probably have to hire someone to stand at the entrance and tell people to lower their masks, and that would cost more money. Maybe some fancy people stores might require it, but could you imagine the ire that a wealthy Manhattanite would rain down on a poor shopkeeper they thought they were being accused of criminal activity even for a second? It ain’t gonna be pretty.

If anything, this just goes to show that Adams and all over New York City’s multi-billion dollar law enforcement organizations have no idea how to stop shoplifters and are now putting the responsibility in the hands of the shop owners themselves. The audacity is alarming. Eric Adams proposes to increase the NYPD police budget by $200 million and then has the gall to tell shopkeepers paying taxes to support that budget to take care of the problem themselves? This is exactly the “solution” he gave to women who were victims of assault when told them they shouldn’t be “standing alone” in “isolated areas”. Eric, didn’t you increase the amount of cops in the city? How are there still “isolated areas”? Not saying that Adam’s police do much. If you walk by a cop in the subway, nine times out of 10, they’re on their phone.

Once again, it proves what we already know. “Tough on crime” policies and increased police presence don’t keep vulnerable communities safe. It keeps vulnerable communities vulnerable. As one Twitter user points out, this policy will only serve to further harass and marginalize members of vulnerable communities who are simply trying to get by. Public health experts have also weighed in, saying that if the Adams administration’s goal was to prevent crime, it would target things causing crime rates to increase in the first place: namely, the Covid-19 pandemic. “By slowing the spread of COVID-19, masks keep our communities safe,” says the user.

Despite high community transition rates of Covid-19 throughout the country, President Biden has decided to end the State of Emergency in May. Months before Adam’s new directive, his administration lifted the mask mandate in medical settings as well. The decision prompted a similar outcry from disabled and immunocompromised New York City residents.

(featured image: NYC Mayor’s Office)


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.