A Group Of Anti-Vaxxers Just Took Over A New York Cheesecake Factory

Yesterday, a number of anti-vaxxers stormed into The Cheesecake Factory outlet in New York City and created a ruckus, according to Twitter account @PatriotTakes. The group included over 30 individuals who, according to the post, "refused to check in at the host stand, skipped waiting customers, and sat themselves across multiple tables in a Cheesecake Factory [outlet]."

This incident has been linked to the fact that New York City implemented a new rule in August 2021 stating that all those who wish to dine indoors are required to show proof of vaccination (via CNBC and Washington Examiner). This rule was applicable to staff members and guests at restaurants across NYC and presented some challenges: for example, those who had been vaccinated in a different country experienced technical difficulties while trying to establish their vaccination status. Entrepreneur Stacey Widlitz, who was given the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in the U.K., explained to CNBC, "I'm not a tourist, but I had my vaccine in London, and they don't know what to do with a barcode from a foreign country on an app they don't recognize."

Per Restaurant Business Online, people needed to prove that they have taken at least one shot of a vaccine against COVID-19: a rule that didn't work for many diners across the city. A survey that included 125 New York-based restaurants revealed that 67.2% of the businesses had seen customers leave the premises in anger after they were asked to provide proof of vaccination.

Things got ugly

As explained by Twitter account @PatriotTakes, the anti-vaxxers weren't happy when cops showed up at The Cheesecake Factory and started "arguing" with them when the police officials told them that they would have to exit the restaurant. Several video clips from the incident were shared on Twitter: the cops made it clear that being inside the restaurant without being vaccinated was against the rules, and an official said that the anti-vaxxers were trespassing and would be arrested if they refused to leave. An anti-vaxxer shot back, "It's not criminal trespass. We're here to access the business during normal business hours."

According to @PatriotTakes, four individuals were arrested by the cops after they didn't exit The Cheesecake Factory outlet, which prompted them to accuse the police of "segregation and discrimination." However, the tweet made it clear that the anti-vaxxers "skipped paying customers waiting in line" and were difficult to deal with. 

Twitter users had a lot to say about the incident, and one commentator stated, "If the manager tells you to leave, for any reason or no reason at all, and you refuse, you are trespassing and subject to arrest ... period." Someone else posted a lighthearted reaction and wrote, "Fighting for our constitutional right to cheesecake."