DeFusco proposes waiving fees for Hoboken bars that require vaccination to enter without a mask


Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco has proposed incentivizing local bars that require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons to enter without a face mask by waiving operational fees, such as daily parklet costs, for the rest of the year.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The Delta variant of COVID-19 has proven to be significantly more contagious than any previous strain of the virus and with the number of bars and individuals who come to our city for nightlife activities, Hoboken is uniquely situated to be at an even greater risk of infection,” DeFusco said in a statement.

“Incentivizing businesses that are willing to take additional measures to prevent the spread of this virus, specifically tightly packed bars, is a win for both public health and safety in our City and provides additional relief for small businesses who have struggled to make ends meet over the past year and a half.”

The bars and eateries who do not wish to participate would be subject to the fees as written in Hoboken’s outdoor dining regulations.

Unlike in New York City, no one would be prohibited from entering a business based on their vaccination status, unless new statewide guidelines are issued.

On Friday, Mayor Ravi Bhalla signed an executive order mandating municipal employees to either get vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing, as HCV first reported.

While the majority of the county doesn’t appear to be following suit right now, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that restaurants, entertainment venues, and gyms will only be available to vaccinated patrons as of August 16th, with enforcement starting on September 13th.

DeFusco also noted that Bhalla would need to act immediately to begin implementing a vaccine incentive program for businesses.

Presenting this as an ordinance would require two city council meetings before the mayor could sign the measure into law, roughly a two-month process.

City spokeswoman Marilyn Baer said that the mayor had not heard of the proposal until today, but we’ll consider any measures that would address vaccination rates.

“The City is happy to consider any and all initiative to increase vaccination rates. However, Mayor Bhalla has not seen Councilman DeFusco’s proposal as the Councilman does not collaborate or share his ideas with the Administration,” she said.

“Mayor Bhalla has been in constant communication with both the State of New Jersey and local businesses on additional ways to keep residents and customers safe; had Councilman DeFusco not spent his time during the height of the pandemic defying CDC guidelines and traveling to hot spot countries, he might have been a part of those conversations.”

The Hoboken City Council’s next meeting is on August 18th at 7 p.m. and will convene via Zoom.

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  1. Doesn’t seem fair to have the incentive vary from bar to bar based on the size of the fees they happen to pay. Why should bars and eateries that already benefit from having parklets get a bigger incentive payment than those who don’t by having those fees waived.

    The concept of providing incentives is OK but it needs to treat every business the same. This seems like either Councilman DeFusco didn’t give much thought to how to implement this fairly or it was written with a particular bar or restaurant in mind.

    My money is on #2.

    • This is nothing but politics and useless repression. There’s no evidence anywhere this is needed whatsoever. None! In the hospital here they were at zero patients. Zero! They may have a mere one or two now but no doubt they fall into the serious category of vulnerability: elderly, obese, heart and lung problems, diabetes, in other words, health issues. The data and evidence doesn’t even begin to speak to this “concern” asking for draconian measures against the freedom of Americans. Not.Even.Close.

  2. We here at HobokenMatters are just happy to see Defusco actually propose something positive regarding COVID (even if it isn’t very well thought out).

    The last time we saw him trying to help out was about 17 months ago during the height of the pandemic when he was going maskless door-to-door handing tiny alcoholic swabs out to senior citizens.

    • Last time we didn’t see Defusco was during the pandemic when he rented out his apartment and left Hoboken to vacation in Europe and South America for weeks at a time.

  3. Seig Heil Mike!

    For the idiots who didn’t get the message after Provencetown last month, the vaccination doesn’t stop transmission. The Delta variant is fading in the UK already and there’s been no mass hospitalizations.

    Get over the regressive totalitarian in you already people and stop being damn ignorant.

    • please keep repeating your anti-vax message and tying everything to nazis like the stupid old inarticulate fool you are. everyone knows you’re a lost cause and reflexively doubts everything you say. your association with anti-vax messages will help to make them a lost cause too.

  4. “Coronavirus patients who recovered from the virus were far less likely to become infected during the latest wave of the pandemic than people who were vaccinated against COVID.

    More than 7,700 new cases of the virus have been detected during the most recent wave starting in May, but just 72 of the confirmed cases were reported in people who were known to have been infected previously – that is, less than 1% of the new cases.

    Roughly 40% of new cases – or more than 3,000 patients – involved people who had been infected despite being vaccinated.”

    Natural immunity is winning as infection of the vaccinated continues. Maybe time to stop repeating misinformation and propaganda from the CDC and Dr. Fauci. They keep being caught lying and are leading the US into more not less problems. They know this data and refuse to address it.

    You Mike DeFusco have a choice. You can focus on the truth, data and evidence in the science.

  5. From which international destination did Councilman DeFusco draft this ordinance from? #askingforafriend

    Shocked he’s even trying to give the bar owners some financial relief after they all dropped him like a bad habit for over promising and not delivering anything in return for their support.

    Can’t wait to hear Councilwoman Fisher come to his defense on why this is such a great idea for #ourhoboken.

    • While I don’t want to take readers away from HCV… did anyone see the PIX11 interview? It’s pretty obvious that the Councilman is in a completely different time zone than the reporter who still had daylight. Those heavy (and ugly) curtains aren’t hiding much. I was pointed to the PIX11 coverage by Councilman DeFusco’s facebook page, which as of 9:20am has 3 comments but yet only 1 is visible to followers.

      Back to censoring public comments again, I see. So he can say he’s not blocking people, but he’s blocking their comments. Public office comes with the praise and the criticism. If you can’t handle the heat, get out the kitchen.