New York City Mayor Eric Adams today took major steps 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 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 Small Business Forward was a critical first step to fundamentally overhauling how the city engages with small businesses, ensuring a more seamless and supportive interaction on every front.
The Small Business Advisory Commission — which was established by Executive Order 15 signed earlier this month — will 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. Today, 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.”
“Today, 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 confidence 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.
Examples of the reforms being announced today and their corresponding agencies include:
- Introducing 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);
- Introducing 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);
- Removing 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);
- Reducing maximum fines for violations of time/temperature control for preparing foods safely – New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH);
- Eliminating violations for picture tubes (older TVs with cathode ray tubes) sold or offered for sale without proper label – DCWP; and
- Eliminating the violation for a failure to conspicuously post electrical work permit while work is in progress – DOB; among others.
“Today’s announcement is another shining example of a top priority for this administration – close interagency collaboration,” said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “These recommendations make the message from City Hall crystal clear: we are here to uplift small businesses, not punish them. Thank you to our sister agencies for their partnership in this important effort, and to Mayor Adams for his unwavering support of small businesses at every turn.”
“As businesses recover from COVID-19, it is critical to creating an environment where consumers and businesses alike can thrive,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Thanks to the mayor’s leadership, we’re reducing fines and helping businesses across New York City succeed while ensuring consumers are protected.”
“Who’s going to be a better partner in the work of keeping a neighborhood clean — a thriving small business with a vested interest in the success of our city or a vacant storefront left unoccupied and uncleaned because red tape drove a hardworking New Yorker out of business?” said DSNY Commissioner Jessica S. Tisch. “It’s obvious that small businesses are the key to clean streets, and these reforms mean businesses, and DSNY, can spend less time worrying about fines for things like misplaced refuse bin stickers and more time working on what really matters: Building healthy, safe, and clean neighborhoods.”
“Small Business Forward is bringing common sense back to New York City government by getting rid of outdated regulations and overly punitive violations,” said DOB Commissioner Eric Ulrich. “Mayor Adams understands that these stores and restaurants are cornerstones of their communities, and I am proud to be a part of this undertaking to support our small businesses. 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.”
On January 4, 2022, Mayor Adams signed Executive Order 2, calling on DOB, DEP, DSNY, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), DCWP, and DOHMH to review business regulations, with the goal of reducing fine schedules and allowing for cure periods or warnings for first-time violations.
Small Business Forward required the six regulatory agencies to evaluate the 25 provisions of law or rules that are most frequently enforced through the issuance of notices of violations.
In total, 227 violations were evaluated by the six participating agencies.
Additionally, Small Business Forward required agencies to do a review of the systems used to enforce the provisions, including inspector training, administration, and the process for tracking warnings and cure periods.
Feedback on violations and the city’s enforcement practices was solicited from over 980 small business owners through an online survey. Other stakeholders provided feedback through virtual listening sessions.
The full report is available online.
“Small businesses always have been and always will be the lifeblood of New York City,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler. “This move by Mayor Adams will ensure that small businesses across the city will be better positioned to succeed moving forward. As we continue to navigate our way through pandemic recovery, it is more important than ever to uplift local businesses and these reforms are a great way to do that. I am thrilled New York will continue to be a nexus for innovation and small business success and I thank Mayor Adams for his work on this.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of America and New York City is no exception. As we continue our post-pandemic recovery, we must ensure our small businesses are not left behind. And Mayor Adams‘ announcement to reduce some unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens for our small business community ensures that,” said U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke. “These new reforms will not only save our small businesses roughly $8.9 million annually, but the move will also help them recover, rebuild, and restart our city’s economy in an equitable, strategic, and future-focused way, as we embark on this new era of economic growth and prosperity. I wholeheartedly praise these efforts and the mayor’s blueprint for a more inclusive and equitable economy.”
“Today the city is taking the historic step of removing enormous and unnecessary regulatory burdens on small businesses,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “This comes after a bold review of 232 violations commonly imposed on them. I applaud Mayor Adams on his take charge, common sense approach to helping our small businesses cut through bureaucracy and red tape. As a member of the New York State Assembly Committee on Small Business, I work to empower our city’s 220,000 small businesses which serve as an engine of economic recovery for our city. They hire hundreds of thousands of people, add vitality to our neighborhoods, and give our immigrants a path to the American Dream. Because of Mayor Adams, those businesses will now have 118 fewer barriers to reaching their full potential.”
“During my tenure as commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, I launched the small business relief initiative which cut onerous fines in half and reduced violations which provided much-needed relief for struggling small businesses across New York City,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin, chair, Committee on Small Business. “With this executive order, Mayor Eric Adams is bringing small business relief to the next level across city agencies by implementing reforms that strengthen our small businesses and commercial corridors.”
“Our small businesses are an essential part to New York City’s recovery, and I’m glad to see initiatives that help revitalize them,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez, chair of, the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection. “It’s going to take bold, enterprising cooperation with our partners and city agencies for the progress people need post-pandemic. I look forward to working with Commissioners Kim and Mayuga and Mayor Adams in promoting our business while still prioritizing public safety.”
“Small businesses are our lifeblood and the driving force behind our city’s economic recovery,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. “For too long, they have been burdened with needless penalties that have stifled their prosperity. These reforms come at a time when we must be doing all that we can to support our small businesses, instead of penalizing them, and I am confident that this will help achieve that while keeping consumers safe.”
“I applaud and fully support scaling back punitive fines and penalties on small businesses,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Won. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our city, and yet they have been treated as cash cows for decades by city agencies. Aggressive enforcement has hurt our small businesses especially immigrant and minority-owned businesses, pushing some New Yorkers out of business altogether. As thousands of mom-and-pop shops are recovering from two years of pandemic losses, these reforms are desperately needed. These reforms will save our small businesses $8.9 million each year, and will lead to better collaboration and trust between them and the city government.”
“Excessive fines and violations by their very definition are a detriment to small businesses, and undermine our economic recovery,” said Randy Peers, president, and CEO, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “With the reforms announced today, the Adams administration has already done more to right these wrongs than any previous administration.”
“From retail to restaurants, small businesses drive our city’s economy,” said Lisa Sorin, president, Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “In just four months, the Adams administration has made huge progress to streamline regulations for small businesses, put money in the pockets of small business owners, and create new opportunities for small businesses to grow. The Bronx Chamber is excited to continue to work with the administration to support our local mom-and-pop shops in our economic recovery.”
“Every dollar saved for a small business is a dollar that can be reinvested in our communities and our economic recovery,” said Jessica Walker, president, and CEO, of Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “The city’s actions to eliminate and reduce red tape to the tune of nearly $9 million a year for small businesses will make a lasting impact for Manhattan neighborhoods and our city at large.”
“The Queens Chamber of Commerce is excited by the mayor’s ambitious moves to make it easier to own and operate a small business across the five boroughs,” said Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Every reduced fine eliminated penalty, and expanded cure period is a weight lifted off the shoulders of small business owners who need all the help they can get.”
“Mayor Adams understands that the city needs to help small businesses, not burden them with fines and penalties,” said Linda Baran, president, and CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “City agencies and small businesses need to work together to protect public health and public safety while investing in our economic recovery. Today’s announcement is a big step in the right direction to shift that paradigm.”
“When Mayor Adams came into office, he promised to support small businesses and improve the regulatory environment for our city’s restaurants and bars, and four months into his administration he’s getting stuff done,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director, NYC Hospitality Alliance. “Today’s 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.”
“Thank you Mayor Adams and the Small Business Forward team for implementing 118 new ways to make operating a business easier in New York City,” said Matthew Bauer and Nina Flores, co-Chairs, New York City Business Improvement District Association Small Business Regulatory Reform Working Group.
“Cutting red tape for small businesses will help so many communities grow and flourish,” said John Jiang, president of, New York Laundromat Business Association. “Every successful small business, whether it’s a laundromat or a bodega, is a success for our city. By reducing fines and penalties, the mayor is giving all small businesses a leg up and a better shot at thriving.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of the Korean immigrant community,” said Charles Yoon, president of, Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY). “Within just the nail salon industry alone, there are some 3,000 Korean American-owned businesses in New York City. KAAGNY, on behalf of the Korean American Community, thanks and applauds the mayor for implementing real changes designed to help small businesses by reducing the burden of needless fines and penalties on small businesses.”
“For small business owners like me, Mayor Adams’s move to reduce fines and violations is about more than just dollars and cents,” said Tony Forte, co-owner, Coffee Uplifts People. “It’s about making sure that small businesses thrive right here in New York City. Thank you to the Adams administration for moving small businesses forward!”
“I commend the vision and great work of Mayor Adams and Commissioner Kim. These new reforms will help to lessen the financial burden on small businesses. I look forward to continuing to partner with this administration as we look to ensure a more equitable recovery for all communities in our great city,” said Jeff Lindor, founder, and CEO, of The Gentlemen’s Factory Inc.
“Small businesses need all the help we can get right now, and Mayor Adams is making a real difference,” said Susana Osorio, owner, Mamasushi. “This overhaul of fines and regulations will lift a real burden off of small business owners, and help our communities recover and grow.”
“Hundreds of thousands of small businesses make New York City thrive,” said Jeff Garcia, owner, Wahizza Pizza. “By streamlining regulations and reducing the cost of doing businesses, small businesses are going to grow and continue to be a part of our city’s future.”