New York restaurant manager becomes renegade over new anti-vaccination rules

Not all of the Big Apple’s restaurants had been satisfied as a city-wide vaccination mandate took effect Monday – and a few are all thumbing their noses at the controversial crackdown, however.

The so-called “Key to NYC” program – which requires diners to provide proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID – has enlisted the help of renowned restaurateurs like Danny Meyer of the Gramercy Tavern and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, in addition to the owners of Sylvia’s in Harlem.

But some fear the new rules will not apply and will scare away vacationers as native restaurants scramble to recover from a year and a half of lockdown. Others say they won’t even try to enforce the new rule from September 13, when city inspections of restaurants, indoor recreation areas and gyms are expected to begin.

Shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the new rules on August 3, an indication appeared in the entrance window of Pasticceria Rocco, a pastry shop and restaurant in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn: “We do not discriminate against any customer. based on sex, gender, race, creed, age, vaccinated or unvaccinated. All clients who wish to patronize are welcome.

“For me, it’s not political, most of my customers are vaccinated,” said Mary Joséphine Generoso, who manages the restaurant. “It’s about civil liberties and freedoms. Now we have to be in a society where people cannot move freely and enter my business if they want to? How is it in the United States of America? ”

The manager of Pasticceria Rocco said she hoped her signal would encourage others to resist rules that require diners to show proof of vaccination.

Generoso said she hadn’t told city officials about the new rules – and admitted she wasn’t sure what she would do if they showed up at her door.

“It’s scary. I feel like we’re going to become an example,” Generoso said. “It’s really hard to face a machine, and that’s what we’re up against. Honestly, j I put on the sign because I was hoping other business owners would have the courage to speak up as well. But it was mainly our customers who gave us their support. ”

Andrew Rigie, government director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance – a key business group for Big Apple restaurants – says he understands the complexities and controversies of the vax order, but says it’s essential, however.

“There are restaurateurs who support it and restaurateurs who oppose it,” said Rigie. “No doubt the vaccine requirement will pose challenges for restaurants, but everyone seems to agree that we cannot go back to tougher restrictions and closures.”

Eric Ripert
Some restaurant owners, including Eric Ripert du Bernardin, have taken out vaccine insurance policies for their ability to keep everyone safe, especially diners who will feel more comfortable venturing out.

The city released details of the new tips on Monday, clarifying that children under 12 with vaccinated moms and dads could be allowed to dine inside. Eating outdoors will not be restricted. The new rules will apply to indoor eating places, bars, museums and cinemas, but not to locations corresponding to office buildings, facilities for groups and the elderly as well as catering facilities in the outside.

On September 13, the metropolis will begin fining $ 1,000 for the first offense, $ 2,000 the second time around – on indoor businesses that don’t make sure their sites are banned for those who aren’t. not vaccinated.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes a picture of your Center for Disease Control vaccination card, NYC COVID Safe app, New York State Excelsior app, or an accurate CDC vaccination card.

Stratis Morfogen, owner of Brooklyn Chop House and Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, thinks it should add little more than a dog and pony gift – and says it’s not a very good search for places to eat.

“What are we, the police?” Asking our guests to “Show us the papers”, like in Nazi Germany? Morfogen has fulminated, in particular that the mandate of the metropolis “is contrary to our constitutional rights and to all that we defend”.

Mary Joséphine Generoso in front of a window with pastries
Mary Joséphine Generoso, seen here with pastries offered at the restaurant she runs, insists her motives will not be political.

To make matters worse, the restaurateur complains that a black market vax card business is booming, with counterfeit paper playing cards reportedly being offered for $ 100.

“Twelve-year-olds can copy it,” Morfogen said. “They need to correct the quality of the ID. We are not going to have any conflicts with our clients questioning the authenticity of these amateur documents. We will ask nicely and our clients will show us their pen-filled reports just to accompany this political sham. ”

Jeffrey Bank, chairman and CEO of Alicart Restaurant Group, which runs Carmine’s on the Upper West Side and Times Square, says they will help vax’s tenure only, but on condition that it is accompanied by his personal complexities.

“Here’s the million dollar question: A party of eight comes in. They are all vaccinated except one person, who claims a religious exemption. What are you doing?”

Robert Briskin, owner of American Brass and Maiella in Queens, also said that in addition to law enforcement issues, firing unvaccinated employees can also be problematic.

“I’m sure my staff can stay home and collect from the same people who enforce these rules,” Briskin said. “I would appreciate it if the government would do its own dirty work and stop ruling me. I spent a year being the mask police and now I have to be the vaccine police. Will the city pay me for my service?

About Vivian J. Smith

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