NYC Mayor Eric Adams: Business Should Require Customers to Unmask Upon Entering to Help Fight Crime

FILE - Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden, on J
John Minchillo, File/AP

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has called on the city’s businesses to require unmasking upon entry. The move comes as authorities have noted mask-wearing in public places has made it easier for criminals to obscure their identities.

“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,” Adams said in a recent radio interview with 1010 WINS. “And then once they’re inside, they can continue to wear if they so desire to do so. But we need to use the technology we have available to identify those shoplifters and those who are committing serious crimes.”

At a February 28 press conference concerning a jewelry store robbery in which police say a 78-year-old worker was brutally beaten by the suspects — one of them masked — New York City Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey called on the city’s business community to require unmasking as a “condition of entry”:

The NYPD is here to work with our businesses, but I have to ask our businesses to be just as proactive as well. We’re seeing far too often where people are coming up to our businesses, sometimes with masks, sometimes with masks, hoods, and latex gloves… and then we have a robbery or some kind of property being stolen.

Maddrey explained that unmasking could serve as a “peace offering” to workers. 

“As a sign of a peace offering, a sign of safety to those store workers, when we walk in, we should take down our masks,” he explained. “We should let them know that they’re not in any danger, any harm—that we’re customers.”

Fox 5 reported Monday that police had linked the murder of a 67-year-old bodega worker during a robbery to three other robberies. Police say that in each case the suspect was masked. 

“I mean at the end of the day if you don’t have nothing to hide,” Nestor Osiris, a resident of the Bronx, opined to the outlet on the unmasking proposal. “[It’s] just doing what they’re asking you to do for the safety of others.”

You can follow Michael Foster on Twitter at @realmfoster.


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