The NYC Hospitality Alliance are thrilled to see that New York City Mayor Eric Adams took major steps late last month to reduce burdens on and cut red tape for the city’s small businesses by announcing reforms to 118 city regulations.
The 118 reforms stem from his Executive Order 2(EO2) “Small Business Forward” signed in January 2022 that requires city agencies to review existing business regulations and ensure local businesses face fewer needless fines and penalties without jeopardizing public health or safety. The reforms include the repeal of 30 provisions, the reduction of civil penalties associated with 49 provisions, and amendments to 39 provisions to include a first-time warning or cure period or to extend an existing cure period.
Executing on Small Business Forward was a critical first step to fundamentally overhauling how the city engages with small business, ensuring a more seamless and supportive interaction on every front. The Small Business Advisory Commission — which was established by Executive Order 15 signed last month to partner with the city to continue this crucial work of cutting red tape, reducing fines, and introducing more cure periods and first-time warnings. The interagency working group that carried out EO2, meanwhile, will begin its work of streamlining and accelerating business processes and openings in order to launch the city’s one-stop-shop online business portal.
“From the earliest days of my administration, I made clear that the city would be a partner to the small business community, which is the backbone of our economy,” said Mayor Adams. “The reforms we are outlining are a direct result of us listening to nearly 1,000 small business owners and putting in place a plan of action to help fill their needs. We are cutting red tape, reducing burdensome regulations, and saving our small businesses approximately $8.9 million — supercharging our recovery and paving the way for an equitable, five-borough economy.”
“We are following through on our promise that New York City means business. We are making it clear that small businesses will be prioritized and supported because they create jobs and keep our neighborhoods and commercial corridors dynamic and vibrant,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “I am proud of the work our city agencies have done to advance these reforms and confident they will manifest into more jobs, more tax revenue, and more economic activity to spur our economic recovery.”
The reforms are expected to be implemented by December 31, 2022, and they are projected to save New York City small businesses approximately $8.9 million annually. Once implemented, these efforts will represent the most successful, comprehensive citywide overhaul of small business regulations in New York City’s history.
We were honored to join the Mayor at his press conference to announced the rollbacks and deletions. The regulatory changes make good on Adams’ campaign promise to lighten burdens that seemed particularly onerous as small businesses struggled to survive the pandemic. Six months into his administration, he’s getting stuff done. The announcement to reduce fines and allow for cure periods is a welcomed first step from the administration, and we look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Adams to find ways to reduce fines, streamline the permitting and licensing process, cut red tape, and champion our city to ensure New York is a place where all our small businesses thrive.
For our Alliance members and the restaurant community, here are some of the key pieces of the Mayor’s plan:
- The Introduction of a cure period when a business fails to prominently and conspicuously display its price list – New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP);
- The Introduction a universal 60-day cure period across all Class 2 “Major Violations” and Class 3 “Lesser Violations” related to small businesses – New York City Department of Buildings (DOB);
- The removal of the penalty for failure to maintain required bins for disposal of compostable straws in restaurants – New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY);
- Increasing time for restaurants to address maintenance and replacement issues with grease interceptors New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP);
- The reduction of maximum fines for violations of time/temperature control for preparing foods safely New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH);
- Your restaurant or bar may have an older TV. The Mayor has eliminated violations for picture tubes (older TVs with cathode ray tubes) sold or offered for sale without proper label – DCWP;
- The Elimination of the violation for a failure to conspicuously post electrical work permit while work is in progress – DOB; among others.
The Mayor’s announcement includes the death knell for 30 local provisions that subjected small businesses to what that community had blasted as “needless fines and penalties” that do nothing to promote safety. In addition, another 39 rules were adjusted via executive order to provide a warning to first-time violators of the regulations and sufficient time to correct the infraction. Simultaneously, the penalties levied by 49 other violations were lightened.
We applaud City Hall for what they described as “the most successful, comprehensive citywide overhaul of small business regulations in New York City’s history.”
I think Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich may have said it best: “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.”