Starting next week, proof of vaccination will be required in New York City for some indoor activities, including going out to eat, but not all restaurants are on board.
“Whether you’re vaccinated or not, you are welcome,” said Mary Josephine Generoso, manager at Pasticceria Rocco’s of Bay Ridge.
There’s a sign of protest in the window of the restaurant, defiant against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s upcoming vaccine mandate.
It reads, “We do not discriminate against ANY customer based on sex, gender, race, creed, age, vaccinate or unvaccinated. All customers who wish to patronize are welcome in our establishment.”
“I just do not feel that we’re gonna be able to sit there and ask customers to show if they’ve been vaccinated or not,” Generoso told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
Starting Monday, everyone is getting carded.
Mayor de Blasio’s latest initiative requires proof of vaccination to get into a variety of indoor public spaces, such as restaurants, gyms and performance venues.
Customers and workers need proof of at least once inoculation shot to be inside, the new mandate outlines. The move, which de Blasio dubbed the “Key to NYC Pass,” is an aggressive switch from the mayor’s previous incentives, which included free museum tickets, free meals and even $100 payments.
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said Aug 3. “It’s time.”
According to city Department of Health data, about 73.2 percent of all New York City adults have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Children under the age of 12, who are not eligible to get the shot, are exempt from the new mandate and will be allowed entry into restaurants, gyms, performance venues and more without proof. De Blasio said he expects kids from 5 to 11 to become eligible in the next few months.
That leaves just 26.8 percent of the New York City population, as well as the fluctuating rate of tourists, who would be barred from indoor businesses beginning Aug. 16.
The number is low enough that the mandate doesn’t worry many business owners. Plenty are actually hopeful that placing restrictions will finally force people into getting the vaccine.
“It’s a draconian measure that has to be taken,” said Carl Clay, the founder of the Black Spectrum Theatre Co. The St. Albans venue had self-imposed the rule on its workers and customers over a month ago because it was the “right thing to do.”
“Did anybody have a problem? Not at all,” Clay continued. “I think to anybody who has any sense of what’s going on around them it makes sense.”
Clay equated proof of vaccination to having a driver’s license. You can drive on the road if you have one, but you can’t sit in the driver’s seat without one.
Other business owners believe the mandate may actually result in an increase in business — according to already established Covid-19 guidelines, social distancing within a venue can be eliminated if all customers and workers are vaccinated.
Theoretically, Annette Runcie said, restaurateurs can boost sales by packing their space with vaccinated customers rather than by catering to those who are not.
“There’s a lot of people who told me they won’t be comfortable coming out because the infection rate is increasing, so this will make them feel more secure,” said Runcie, who owns Pa-Nash Eurosoul in Rosedale.
Update: One more time from Louis Rossmann