Indoor vaccine mandate hurting majority of NYC restaurants, survey finds

Local News

FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2021, file photo, a notice explaining that proof of vaccination is required to dine inside is seen at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan in New York. In both the U.S. and the EU, officials are struggling with the same question: how to boost vaccination rates to the max and end a pandemic that has repeatedly thwarted efforts to control it. In the United States, President Joe Biden has issued sweeping vaccine mandates. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK — The vaccination-proof mandate created challenges for almost all New York restaurants, a State Restaurant Association survey found.

In all, more than 90 percent of the 25 New York City restaurateurs surveyed said they had customer-related challenges including customers refusing to dine after the mandate is enforced, diners screaming at restaurant hosts and customers canceling events because of the mandate. NYSRA President and CEO Melissa Fleischut called for New York City to find an alternative to the mandate.

“Restaurants have been forced to serve as conduits of public health and are paying the price,” Fleischut said. “Operators are losing business and staff. Employees are now subject to undue harassment and hostility. The mandate is a burden on an industry that cannot bear anymore.”

More than 75 percent of those surveyed said their business had been negatively impacted by the mandate; more than half said it had worsened significantly.

Restaurant owners aren’t just facing problems from customers. More than 75 percent also reported staffing issues because of the city’s vaccination rules, according to the survey.

During the first month enforcement in New York, inspectors issued warnings to 6,000 businesses for not checking patrons’ status, and 15 were fined $1,000 for being repeat offenders. 

“The vast, vast, vast majority of restaurants and all the other businesses are saying, ‘Yes, we’re going to work with this. We’re going to make it work for our employees, for our customers, keep everyone safe,’” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

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