NYC To Require Proof of Vaccination for Entry to Restaurants Starting September 13Antonia Stroe
NYC is well set on enforcing its vaccination requirement program for indoor dinings as public health specialists anticipate a spike in Delta strain infections.
We hope you’ve already seen NYC mayor Bill de Blasio’s August 3 announcement:
Join us live at City Hall for a major announcement on how New York City will lead the way in fighting back COVID and driving up vaccinations. https://t.co/MV5jan14NT
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 3, 2021
The “The Key to NYC Pass” program will be fully enforced this September 13, so ensure you’re informed about the exact vaccination requirements.
To cut a long story short, customers must present valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination when entering New York City’s indoor hospitality and entertainment establishments, including dinings, gyms, and enclosed venues. Compliant food-service businesses include restaurants, bars, catering halls, cafeterias, coffee shops, and fast foods with indoor dining.
This is far from good news for NYC’s restaurants, and owners wonder how the new program will clash with already strained restaurant operations. Here’s what we know.
A Delta-Triggered Decision: Vaccination Efforts Continue in NYC
“It is time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good, full, and healthy life,” stated Mayor Bill de Blasio in his August press conference. Although other US cities seem to be considering similar measures, none have yet made a decisive move in this direction.
What’s more, the state of NY continues to lead immunization efforts in the US. As of September 8, 61% of its population stands fully vaccinated, and the figure is expected to rise within the following months. Although existing shots don’t offer complete protection against Delta infections, two-dose vaccines, like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, are still outstandingly efficient in preventing severe illness regardless of the COVID-19 strain involved.
Own a Restaurant? Here’s What to Expect!
Food-service businesses now carry another responsibility: ensuring that their employees and clients have a valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“Do I have to turn my customers away? Do I have to turn business away?” declared restaurant owner Michael Musto for AP News, and he is not the only one finding this new measure challenging, to say the least.
All restaurant personnel welcoming diners also require training, as they’re expected to carry out all the necessary checks for each prospective customer. Given the continuing labor shortage in the food-service industry, this makes for yet another difficult predicament. Restaurants won’t be able to hire unvaccinated workers while the existing staff is expected to carry a heavier workload.
But what do the clients think about this? A study conducted in July concluded that “most people will go along with the required wearing of a mask at restaurants (but fewer would comply if a restaurant asked to see proof of vaccination).” According to the same survey, if a restaurant required guests to show proof of vaccination to dine in, only 51% of respondents would immediately comply. 30% would leave but reconsider visiting after restrictions are lifted. Finally, 19% would opt for the home delivery option.
All in all, this doesn’t bode too well for restaurants. Andrew Rigie, executive director at the New York City Hospitality Alliance, has expressed some concerns about the impact of a mandated vaccine requirement on daily business operations. He believes restaurants located in communities with lower vaccination rates and overall hesitancy will particularly suffer pressure and financial loss.
But there’s another side to this. While a challenging measure, mandated vaccines could save the industry from harsher decisions (such as shutdown orders) if the spike in COVID-19 Delta cases isn’t flattened within the following months. Moreover, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to analyze how the vaccine program will affect restaurants’ labor requirements and whether city aid should be offered to affected establishments.