Tuesday, January 4, 2022



Reforms will reduce fine schedules and allow for warnings for first-time violations

 Mayor Eric Adams today signed the “Small Business Forward” Executive Order to reform existing business regulations, ensuring local businesses face fewer needless fines and penalties. The Executive Order builds upon Local Law 80 and calls on the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, Fire Department, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to review business regulations with the goal of reducing fine schedules and allowing for cure periods or warnings for first-time violations.
“Our small businesses have been through so much during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “The last thing they need to deal with are unnecessary fines. We’re cutting the red tape and bringing real relief to the entrepreneurs who have made their dreams a reality and keep our local economy strong.”
“New York City is open for business,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Under Mayor Adams’ leadership, we’re going to drive real change that cuts red tape and allows small businesses across the five boroughs to power our economic recovery. I look forward to working with my colleagues across government to deliver on this mayoral priority.”  
“With this Executive Order, New York City is being decisive and focusing on what municipal government can do right now to help our small businesses,” said incoming Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services Kevin D. Kim. “This EO makes it clear to every City agency that we, as a city, must work together to reduce unnecessary fines on small businesses for them to thrive. Ultimately this EO will save small businesses millions of dollars and countless hours of dealing with red tape and bureaucracy. By setting a goal of reforming fine schedules and working with businesses who are issued first-time violations, we are implementing smart policy that will help small businesses get back on their feet. Thank you to Mayor Adams for making small businesses a top priority from day one.”
“My in-laws have been small business owners in New York City for 50 years, surviving recessions, hurricanes, blackouts, 9/11, and now a pandemic,” said Joanne Kwong, president and second-generation owner of Pearl River Mart, the longtime Asian American emporium. “For those of us still standing, we’ve made it through the worst but still need support and partnership from government to recover. We are incredibly heartened by Mayor Adams’ commitment to small business and feel hopeful for a new year, new mayoralty, and reenergized New York City.”
The Executive Order will require:
- Within three months, each Agency will identify the 25 violations that are responsible for the greatest number of summonses and fines issued to small businesses and submit the following:
   - Recommendations for which violations should be reformed via a) elimination, b) fine schedules scaled back, c) allowance of a First Time Warning, and/or d) allowance for a Cure Period for first-time violations.
    - If no reform action is recommended for a violation, provide an explanation as to why the status quo should be maintained (e.g. serious health or safety risk)
    - Identify the necessary actions for reform (e.g. rule-making, City legislation, State legislation, etc.)
- All enforcement agencies should immediately review and update their violation tracking systems, inspection procedures and trainings, and the language on their summons tickets in order to ensure that they are prepared to introduce cure periods and first-time warnings for violations in compliance with this EO.
- The establishment of an Inter-Agency Working Group - which includes each enforcement agency and to be chaired by a Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development and the SBS Commissioner - to review Agency submissions and oversee the ensuing business regulatory reform process.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and our neighborhoods – and we must do what we can to help them succeed through difficult times,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Reducing barriers to their thriving businesses is critical for our city’s economy and the pocketbooks of New Yorkers.”
“Throughout the pandemic, small businesses have suffered despite larger businesses bringing in record profits,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “I’m grateful that Mayor Adams is taking steps to reduce burdensome fines, bureaucracy, and hurdles that our local small businesses face. Local business is the backbone of so many neighborhoods across the city, and I’m glad that city government will work together to support them.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our small businesses and we must do all that we can to support them as these unprecedented hardships continue," said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L Gibson. "Our Bronx small businesses and entrepreneurs, who have been forced to adapt due to the extremely changing landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic, are an essential component of our borough's recovery and make up the vibrant culture of The Bronx. I have been a long-time champion for small businesses. During my tenure in the City Council, I was a prime sponsor of Intro. 2233, which provided small businesses relief from violations including certain sanitation, health transportation, consumer affairs, noise control and building violations. Protecting vulnerable local job-creators, while preserving employment opportunities for our hard working residents and providing them with the necessary resources to recover, is more important than ever. I applaud Mayor Adams for putting this new Executive Order into action that will give our business owners clarity, and allow them to operate with less fear and look forward to working with this administration in my new role to continue fighting for our businesses.”

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