NEW YORK — It’s now part of NYC’s pandemic routine – proof of vaccination before being seated for indoor dining, But restaurant owner say it’s also costing them money, and even their employees.
El Rey Bar and Restaurant Sunday had more empty chairs and tables than customers. Many restaurant workers have been concerned since a hostess was allegedly attacked at Carmine’s on the Upper West side.
“These restaurant workers are not security guards they’re not prepared to have someone come in beat them up, harass them or verbally harass them,” said John Rodriguez, a business owner in Brooklyn.
Community advocate Tony Herbert, who’s also part of the NY Multicultural Restaurant and Nightlife Chamber of Commerce, is calling on the mayor to do away with the proof of vaccination rules – especially when it comes to small, family-owned eateries, saying it’s causing unnecessary tensions.
“We had a situation here where one of the hostess got into it with patron because felt some kind of way about being asked for their vaccination proof,” said Herbert. “We’re now making our restaurants and workers police officers inside their establishments.”
The concerns come as Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to push for New Yorkers to get vaccinated.
According to city health data, as of Friday, 80 percent of adults in NYC and almost 70 percent of kids ages 12-17 had gotten at least one vaccine dose.
Now, as restaurant owners try to figure out how to adhere to vaccine mandate at restaurants, the burden has fallen on restaurant employees, especially the front of house staff members who are first to come in contact with customers – some who are now working in fear.
As for the incident at Carmine’s, a lawyer representing the tourists now says they were all vaccinated and were racially profiled. In the meantime, according to the mayor, businesses that fail to enforce the proof of vaccine mandate can face fines starting at $1,000.