Eric Adams proposes shoppers take off their masks to fight crime

"Do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask," said the Mayor of New York.

New York's Democratic Mayor, Eric Adams, proposed to businesses that they require their customers to remove their masks to enter their establishments, as a way to reduce robberies, due to the high crime rate in the city.

According to Adams, many of the people currently wearing masks are not doing so out of fear of the coronavirus, but are using them as a way to avoid being caught by authorities thanks to surveillance video, so he believes that asking for removal of masks will help minimize theft.

"When you see these mask-wearing people, oftentimes it’s not about being fearful of the pandemic. It’s fearful of the police catching them for their deeds," he said. Faced with this situation, the mayor came up with the idea that people could be asked to remove their masks just before entering the stores and stressed that it should even be a "condition of entry".

"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," he said. Adams added that once the customer has removed the mask and enters the store,  "they can continue to wear it if they so desire to do so."

The mayor's proposal comes amid an increase in robberies in the city. In fact, according to figures from the New York Post, the number of retail theft reports broke a record with a 45% increase in reports over the previous year.

However, Adams' measure may not be enough for retailers who have even had to take the issue of robberies into their own hands by hiring private security guards to prevent their stores from being further affected by criminals.

"The justice system is just not cooperating, and it’s getting to a point where you either have to padlock every item that has to be stolen, or you have to fight back," said Fernando Mateo, president of United Bodegas of America (UBA).