Making the rounds mask-free: Mayor Adams tours East Village businesses on first day without mask or vaccine mandates in NYC

Mayor Eric Adams toured the East Village Monday where he spoke with restaurant owners following his decision to lift COVID-19 safety protocols, which took effect today.

On March 4, Adams announced that eateries will no longer be required to observe vaccine cards in order to allow New Yorkers to dine in their establishments, a decision that came after infection rates hit a record low. With the mandates now lifted, Adams worked his way through the East Village on March 7, speaking with local business owners.

Beginning his tour on 1st Avenue and 7th Street, the mayor met with MáLà Project owner Amelie Kang who said she was excited for the meeting.

“We definitely feel very honored and we’re feeling the love from the government,” Kang said, also touching on the lifted mandates. “Yeah, we’re very excited about that. I think the customers are gonna feel relieved and that makes our staff feel much easier as well. And we feel safe at this point. So, we’re happy about that.”

MáLà Project owner Amelie Kang  speaks with Mayor Eric Adams. Photo by Dean Moses
Mayor Eric Adams visits La Palapa. Photo by Dean Moses

Next the mayor set his sights on La Palapa, but on his way to the Lower Manhattan restaurant Adams stopped to say hello to almost every passing New Yorker, including briefly commandeering a cyclist’s bike and even aiding a delivery man lug boxes from the back of a truck.

It is clear Adams is having a good time as mayor; however, he is also facing a polarizing step in his administration by choosing to lift the mandates.

Adams shows off his biking skills. Photo by Dean Moses
The mayor shares his skateboarding skills in Tompkins Square Park. Photo by Dean Moses

“Many businesses were closing because they were not getting the clientele inside. Many of them felt that the mask mandate impeded business,” Mayor Adams said. 

When asked if he is concerned that lifting the mandates in food establishments might have the opposite effect, that some New Yorkers may not want to eat meals beside those who are unvaccinated, the mayor said he believes he has a solution.

“So, here’s the win, because of a great City Council, we have outdoor dining, we feel like Paris now. Paris feels like New York. So, if you’re not ready to come indoors, you could do it outdoors,” Adams said.

The mayor also visited the Dallas BBQ and met its general manager, Ata Rahman, who despite welcoming the mayor with open arms, he also noticeably kept his mask on. 

General Manager of Dallas BBQ Ata Rahman welcomes the mayor. Photo by Dean Moses

“It’s my personal choice, I feel like I want to wear a mask as long as I can. Of course, the city and state are researching, and the infection rate is down so if they take it off, I am very happy, no problem,” Rahman said.

During his tour, amNewYork Metro also asked the mayor if he feels like lifting the mandates now following so many anti-mandate protests is sending the right message. He responded by saying he is not a mayor who is against protests, adding that he has even protested himself in the past.