Anyone planning to go to one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants after September 7thth must present more than one credit card at the end of the meal. As Meyer announced today, in order to enter New York’s Union Square Café, The Modern, Gramercy Tavern, Washington DC’s Maialino Mare and others in his Union Square Hospitality Group, they must have valid proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. Employees and those hoping to work at these restaurants also need to be vaccinated.
“Through the COVID -19 pandemic, our number one priority has been the health and safety of our employees and guests,” Meyer explains. At the moment, this safety has been jeopardized by the advent of the highly contagious Delta variant. Vaccinations have proven effective against Covid 19 and the Delta variant, and to maintain health and safety, we will require vaccinations for our staff and indoor guests at full-service restaurants. Taking this proactive step will increase the safety of our companies and build confidence in our teams that their safety is our priority while allowing for a more consistent workforce and attendance. ”
Meyer, widely respected as a leader in the restaurant industry and by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio named as chairman of the board of NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Corporation,) may well inspire others to follow. Despite no guidance in this direction from the city council, some have already reached this position. Gabriel Stulman, another New York restaurateur with a barn of popular restaurants like Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery in the West Village, implemented the policy when the state eased occupancy restrictions for indoor dining. At his newest restaurant, Jolene, which opened in late May, the vaccination policy was voted on by staff, which he revealed in a recent interview with food website Eater, to allow everyone to return to the relaxed, light atmosphere, there was a restaurant trademark before the pandemic. Other popular restaurants in New York also began to require a vaccine certificate or a negative COVID test, including the exclusive North Chinese restaurant Hutong on Manhattan’s East Side, the lower East Side Spain and Portugal seafood specialist Cervo’s and Tribeca’s Frenchette.
Restaurants and bars elsewhere in the US and abroad also switch to vaccination or Covid recovery only reservations indoors: using the digital Covid certificate rolled out to EU member states through July, tables in countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy and France are either currently or soon only open indoors for those who can prove immunity. It is clear that this has not gone well everywhere as news reports of 160,000 people protesting in France and more than 5,000 protesters waving Greek flags were gathered outside the parliament in Athens on Wednesday.
Other restaurant owners have reported both widespread approval from diners who now feel more secure indoors, and shouts of discrimination against unvaccinated diners who must either choose a table instead in one of the outdoor environments the restaurants have built or go a elsewhere for dinner. This criticism gave rise to a counter-offer offered by a restaurant in California that has routinely ignored all COVID security protocols during the pandemic. Diners planning to go to Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach must bring proof that they have not been vaccinated according to the owner – but that’s all talk, according to an employee.
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