New York City restaurant owners and managers are bracing for chaos ahead of the country's first vaccination mandate for customers - as worries mount that patrons who are asked to show proof of shots could take their business elsewhere, or even get violent.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced that New York will be the first major city in the United States to require that indoor diners, theatergoers, and gym members show proof of vaccination if they want to receive service.
The news was met with mixed reaction from restaurant owners and managers, who say that while they are hopeful this will spur more New Yorkers to get vaccinated, it could also pose problems for those trying to enforce the measure.
‘If you ask the customer for proof that they had the vaccine, then you’re going to have a lot of problems,’ Jose Amigon, 56, the general manager of Paul’s Da Burger Joint in the East Village, told DailyMail.com.
‘People get mad, angry, upset.’Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Jose Amigon, 56, the general manager of Paul’s Da Burger Joint in the East Village, says requiring customers be vaccinated will cause problems
Amigon said that on several occasions customers have been violent and aggressive when asked to wear a mask. One angry customer smashed the plastic shield partition (seen above). Amigon hopes the scenario doesn't repeat itself when asking for proof of vaccination
Paul’s Da Burger Joint has lost 80 percent of its business as a result of the pandemic. Amigon said that he hopes the vaccination mandate will not drive away more customers
Ataur Rahman, 64, is the general manager of DallasBBQ in the East Village. He told DailyMail.com that it hasn’t been a problem to get his staff vaccinated
Rahman is general manager of DallasBBQ in the East Village. He said he is worried that the vaccine mandate will hurt businessInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Amigon, who lost 25 relatives to COVID-19, said that he has had to call the police on several occasions during the pandemic after rowdy customers refused his request to wear a mask.
In one instance, a customer slammed his fist and cracked the plastic partition shield that he put up in front of the cash register.
Another customer angry over the request to wear a mask spit on the partition. Amigon said that another customer threw an object at him.
While he’s pleased that the city is taking steps to boost vaccination rates, Amigon said there’s a risk that the move could backfire since customers who haven’t gotten the shot could take their business elsewhere.
Customers and workers will have to show proof that they've had at least one dose of a vaccine under plans to pressure New Yorkers to get a shot, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday
Official data shows that 66 percent of adults in NYC are fully vaccinated
Data from the New York City Department of Health shows 60 percent of all New Yorkers have received at least one dose while 55 percent have been fully vaccinated
‘If you ask customers if they had the vaccine, they’ll get offended,’ he said. ‘One hundred percent.’
‘So we’re gonna have a lot of problems when [the new policy] comes.’
‘I get scared because sometimes people get very aggravated,’ Amigon continued.
‘Some people don’t want to do the vaccine. Some people don’t want to wear masks.’
Amigon said that all of his co-workers have gotten vaccinated. As general manager, he is responsible for a staff of six people.
During the pandemic, the restaurant stayed open and made deliveries as there was no indoor, in-person dining. But the tourists were nowhere to be found.
As a result, Paul’s Da Burger Joint lost 70 percent of its business, Amigon said.
He said the restaurant managed to survive through phone and online orders - barely.
Now Amigon said he is ‘very scared’ about what the future holds, as the Indian Delta variant has sent case numbers surging.
Complicating factors is the reluctance of hospitality workers to return to their jobs.
Amigon said that government benefits surpass the paychecks they received while working.
One of his biggest fears now is that unvaccinated customers will be put off by the new mandate.
The new requirement, which will be phased in over several weeks in August and September, is the most aggressive step the city has taken yet to curb a surge in cases caused by the Delta variant.
De Blasio has focused on getting as many New Yorkers vaccinated as possible while resisting calls to mandate masks indoors, as several cities and counties in California have done.
New York City - like the rest of the country - has seen a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks
But the high vaccination rate citywide has kept hospitalizations at bay, according to the recent data
Deaths have also remained low during the recent surge fueled by the Indian Delta variant
He said vaccination