New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) has issued a new order to try and protect small businesses from rising crime in the city. Adams has asked stores to have customers lower their face masks before entering to deter criminals and help surveillance cameras “identify those shoplifters and those who have committed serious crimes.”

In an interview with a local radio station, 1010-WINS, Adams explained this unusual order.

“We are putting out a clear call to all of our shops, do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask,” said Adams. “Once they’re inside, they can continue to wear it if they so desire to do so.”

“When you see these mask-wearing people, oftentimes it’s not about being fearful of the pandemic, it’s fearful of the police catching [them] for their deeds.”

Since masks have become so common since the pandemic, it creates an easy way for criminals to hide their identities.

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Adams also announced that the NYPD would be “beefing up [its] coverage in those BID [Business Improvement District] areas” and the “high shopping areas.”

“And we have something called ‘paid detail,’ where uniformed officers are allowed their off-duty hours to do some of the security at many of our stores and locations,” the mayor continued. “It has always been successful. I recall, when I was a police officer, it being utilized, and we are calling on those high-end stores to also continue to do so.”

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Adams’ order was announced after a bodega worker was murdered on March 3 on the Upper East Side.

Given the rise in theft rates and city-wide crime, the president of the United Bodegas of America, Fernando Mateo, supports the new policy and believes it could help save the lives of NYC workers.

“I back the mayor 100%,” Mateo said. “COVID is over, let’s take the masks off.”

“He’s not referring to the grandma and grandpa or regular customers who come in,” added Mateo. “We are talking about criminals.”

NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffery Maddrey also thinks Adams’ initiative is a “common-sense approach” to the crime wave sweeping the city and impacting its businesses.

However, the President of the New York Bodega and Small Business Association, Francisco Mata, argued that the store employees may face dangerous consequences when trying to enforce this new initiative.

“For the bodega worker or owner to enforce the rules is wrong,” Mata told America’s Newsroom. “That’s going to bring more problems, and we’re going to suffer more with our relationships within the community.”

“We don’t have the protection,” he added. “We cannot do that…[if] they want to do that, do it [with the] law… then we can enforce that.”

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