In addition to the serious economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has generated for small businesses, with the loss of income that the not being able to pay rent and laying off employees, or just shutting down for good, there is another big headache that many traders face, and it is the large number of fines they receive for a myriad of regulations that are often very difficult to enforce.
And to help these entrepreneurs, many of whom are immigrants and minorities, Mayor Eric Adams signed an executive order, called ‘‘Small Business Forward’, to carry out a series of reforms to reduce the number of fines, including already scheduled citations, and also change the warnings for those who have committed a violation for the first time, and who instead receive a warning.
“Nur small businesses have been through a lot during the pandemic COVID-19, “Adams emphasized in a statement, adding that the” last thing they have to deal with is unnecessary fines. We are cutting red tape and providing real relief to entrepreneurs who have made their dreams come true and keep our local economy strong. “
Among the main changes with this order, the new Adams Administration will change several of the existing business regulations, requiring municipal agencies, such as the Buildings Department, Environmental Protection Department, Sanitation Department, Fire Department, Consumer and Worker Protection Department and the Health Department, to review their business rules with the goal of reducing fines imposed and allowing warning periods for first-time offenses.
This new executive order comes just a week after the most recent regulation for businesses went into effect, requiring them to comply with a vaccination mandate or otherwise face fines of up to $ 1,000.
“This order makes it clear to all City agencies that weAs the City, we must work together to reduce unnecessary fines for small businesses to thrive. Ultimately, it will save small businesses millions of dollars and countless hours of dealing with red tape and red tape, ”he stressed. Kevin D. Kim, the Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services.
“Throughout the pandemic, small businesses have suffered even as larger businesses generated record profits. Local businesses are the backbone of many neighborhoods in the city and I am pleased that the Government is working together to support them, ”said the Ombudsman Jumaane D. Williams.
The Executive Order will require:
Within three months, each agency will identify the 25 violations that are responsible for the most citations and fines issued to small businesses and will submit the following:
- Recommendations for which violations should be amended by a) elimination, b) citations for reduced fines, c) granting a warning for the first time and / or d) granting a correction period for first infractions.
- If reform action is not recommended for a violation, provide an explanation of why the status quo must be maintained (for example, serious risk to health or safety).
- Identify actions needed for reform (e.g. rulemaking, city law, state law, etc.)
- All agencies should immediately review and update their violation tracking systems, inspection procedures and training, and the language of their citation tickets.