NYC Will Now Officially Require Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Dining

For New York City residents, a dining reservation at a favorite restaurant comes with another caveat. As reported by The New York Times, NYC will be "the first U.S. city to require proof of vaccination for a variety of activities for workers and customers (including) indoor dining." While this decision is in an effort to increase the vaccination rate, the decree does not come without controversy. While Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted that this policy shift will have its critics, he said "It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life." There is no indoor mask mandate for the area. The vaccination policy will go fully into effect on September 13, which allows residents and businesses to adapt to the changes.

According to the Times, the vaccine mandate applies to indoor dining, but outdoor dining would not require proof of vaccination. It appears that guests would have to use the "city's new digital app, the state's Excelsior app or a paper card to show proof of vaccination." Since NYC wants to encourage residents to get vaccinated, the mandate might be tested by both businesses and people, especially given pockets of residents, like children under age 12, who cannot receive the vaccine. Given the volatility of the subject, there are some unknowns with the enforcement of the new policy, but the hope is this indoor activity policy increases the percentage of vaccinations in the community. For now, that special dinner out will require a shot in the arm, not just a dent in the wallet. 

Can restaurants require proof of vaccine for guests?

While the world continues to struggle with the impact of COVID-19, the rules regarding mask mandates and proof of vaccine continue to change. Healthline recently discussed various restaurants and bars that have started to require guests to show proof of vaccination upon entry. Although some medical professionals applaud the choice, the article explored the idea of "bars and restaurants (experiencing) pushback from customers who have different views on the use of masks and vaccinations." 

Although NYC is the first city to mandate vaccines for indoor activities, Forbes recently reported the increase of "No Vax, No Service" policies across the United States. From Los Angeles to Chicago and various other locations, the restaurant and bar industry is looking for ways to keep patrons safe while filling those tables and bar stools. Without a specific law or statue in place, some establishments feel warranted to make their own policies. Even if there is pushback for these requirements, the reality is that the businesses are trying to protect both their employees and guests. But, not every locale will see these mandates or policies take effect. For example, Florida does not allow businesses to require proof of vaccination. While the vaccination conversation continues to be part of the table talk, the reality is that some dinners might require more than just a reservation.