For many years, the fines that different municipal agencies impose on a daily basis, from small details such as not having a notice in sight, to serious matters that have to do with welfare and safety, have become “The bogeyman” of the more than 220,000 small businesses that’s in New York City.
And just when the businesses of the city are still on the road to recovery, after more than two years of being impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemicthe Administration of Mayor Eric Adamsannounced good news, which will give hundreds of small businesses a break.
New York City completely eliminate 30 types of fines and reduce almost 90 others, in an effort to reduce the burden that small businesses in the Big Apple must deal with on a daily basis due to multiple violations of municipal agency codes. In 49 types of infractions for violating local regulations, the reduction of penalties will be promoted and in 39 grace periods will be instituted, before issuing fines, such as when a company does not display its price list in a prominent and visible manner.
so announced Mayorafter explaining that the City will make reforms to 118 regulations, through an Executive Order, issued since January, which made an exhaustive review of more than 225 types of commercial infractions, with which it is estimated that small businesses will save about $8.9 million a year.
The local president stressed that the goal is to remove unnecessary sanctionsbut at the same time ensuring that public health or safety is not endangered.
“From the earliest days of my administration, I made it clear that the city would be a partner with the small business community, which is the backbone of our economy,” said Mayor Adams. “The reforms that we are outlining are a direct result of us listening to nearly 1,000 small business owners and putting an action plan in place to help meet their needs, cutting red tape, reducing onerous regulations, and saving our small businesses approx. $8.9 millionfueling our recovery and paving the way for an equitable economy in all five boroughs.”
Small businesses, a priority
The Deputy Mayor for Economic and Labor Development, Maria Torres-Springerwarned that the reforms to commercial fines in the Big Apple are a sign that the Municipal Administration is fulfilling the promises it made to businesses.
“We are making it clear that small businesses will be prioritized and supported because they create jobs and they keep our neighborhoods and commercial corridors dynamic and vibrant”, assured the official. “I am proud of the work our City agencies have done to advance these reforms and am confident that they will translate into more jobs, more tax revenue and more economic activity to spur our recovery.”
The Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, Kevin D Kimhighlighted that by reducing sanctions and fines, the aim is to promote and support small businesses more and end unnecessary penalties.
“These recommendations make the City’s message very clear: we’re here to encourage small businesses, not punish themsaid the Commissioner.
After hearing the good news, small business owners were encouraged to learn that after years in which many owners claim to have suffered their pocketbooks punished for small details in following certain regulations, finally they can feel more relieved.
“It seems perfect to me that the fines are lowered, because sometimes one can be fined even for having a chair outside and I think that affects us all a lot,” he assured. Peter Rock, Owner of the business Kiosk Deli, Long Island City, in Queens, who asked the Mayor to provide more detailed information to businesses and create other improvements.
“Fines take a lot of money from businessesand it would be good if they gave more extensive information about this and also if they help us with other plans such as all of us being able to put our little chairs and tables outside and not just for restaurants,” added the Mexican, who has had his business for 17 years.
Tony Forte, co-owner of Coffee Uplifts People coffee shopjoined the same feeling and described the relief of fines as an aid so that companies are not so hanged.
“For small business owners like me, the decision to reduce fines and violations is about more than dollars and cents,” said the small business owner. “This is about making sure small businesses thrive right here in New York City.”
Susana Osorio, owner of the Mamasushi restaurantwarned that the changes in the fine system will directly influence the development of small businessmen who, like her, try to stay on their feet in the midst of adversities that, like the pandemic, put many Hispanic merchants in check in the five boroughs.
“Small businesses need all the help we can get right now,” said the businesswoman. “This review of fines and regulations will take a real burden off of small business owners and help our communities recover and grow.”
Jeff Garcia, owner of Wahizza Pizza pizzeriastated that small businesses like his are what make New York move and create jobs, and applauded the changes, which he considers a sign that Mayor Adams is thinking of vulnerable sectors.
“Hundreds of thousands of small businesses make New York City prosper,” Garcia said. “By simplifying regulations and lowering the cost of doing business, small businesses will grow and remain a part of our city’s future.”
The City’s plan is that the elimination of fines and the redesign of other penalties be implemented before December 31 of this year.
Among the changes that the reforms to commercial penalties mean is that there is a universal cure period of 60 days in all major violations, Class 2 and minor violations, Class 3, with the Department of Buildings of the City of New York ( DOB), the abolition of the fine on restaurants for not having containers to dispose of straws.
Additionally, restaurants will be allowed more time to resolve maintenance and replacement issues with grease interceptors, maximum fines for food preparation time and temperature control violations will be reduced, and the violation for not conspicuously posting will be eliminated. electrical work permit while work is in progress.
Get rid of outdated regulations
Eric Ulrich, Commissioner of the Department of Buildingsone of the agencies that imposes the most fines, assured that the “Small Business Forward” initiative, which managed to materialize the changes, made progress by getting rid of obsolete regulations and excessively punitive infractions.
“Mayor Adams understands that these stores and restaurants are the pillars of their communities and I am proud to be a part of this commitment to support our small businesses,” the official said. “By giving New Yorkers the opportunity to correct more violations without incurring additional penalties, we are sending a strong message that New York is open for business again.”
Jessica S. Tisch, Commissioner of the New York Department of Healthapplauded the coming changes and assured that it is necessary to find this type of measures that benefit small businesses so that they continue operating.
“Who is going to be a better partner in the job of keeping a neighborhood clean: a thriving small business with a vested interest in the success of our city, or a vacant store that was left vacant and uncleaned because red tape took a hard-working New Yorker bankrupt?” the official wondered. “It is obvious that small businesses are the key to cleaning the streetsand these reforms mean that businesses and DSNY can spend less time worrying about fines for things like misplaced dumpster stickers and more time working on what really matters: building healthy, safe buildings and clean neighborhoods.”
Marjorie Velazquezpresident of the Consumer and Worker Protection Committee of the Municipal Council, said that the reforms that will be launched in the coming months will be vital in the midst of the recovery process of small businesses, which suffered so much from the tail end of the pandemic.
“Our small businesses are an essential part of New York City’s recovery, and I am pleased to see initiatives that help revitalize them”, said the politician of Latin origin. “Bold and enterprising cooperation with our city partners and agencies is going to be necessary for the progress that people need after the pandemic.”
NYC Small Business Fine Reduction Plan in Numbers
- There are an estimated 220,000 small businesses in the city
- 118 commercial violations will be reformed
- 30 violations will be completely removed
- 49 types of violations will be decreased
- 39 types of violations will now have grace periods and warnings before being fined
- $8.9 million dollars is estimated to be saved in penalties by businesses
- 227 types of violations were evaluated by six agencies to make the decisions
- December 31, 2022 or before is the date to implement the changes
How did the fine reform process come about?
- On January 4, Mayor Adams signed Executive Order 2, “On Small Businesses,” asking the DOB, DEP, DSNY, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), DCWP, and DOHMH to review regulations. businesses, to reduce fines and allow grace periods and warnings for first-time violations, and extend more time for businesses to remedy violations. It was all done under the “Small Business Forward” initiative, which required the six regulatory agencies to evaluate 25 most applicable provisions of the law, reviewing a total of 227 violations with the help of more than 980 small business owners.