Starting Monday, New York City will become the first major city in the U.S. to impose a vaccination requirement for indoor dining, leaving restaurant owners with a host of new challenges to tackle.
Prompted by the surge in new Covid-19 cases, the city is requiring proof of at least one vaccine dose for a number of indoor activities, including dining, fitness clubs and indoor entertainment events. Employees of those venues are also required to be vaccinated.
The policy is gaining traction nationwide. On Thursday, San Francisco followed New York’s lead, implementing its own vaccination requirement for indoor activities that will go into effect on Aug. 20. The California city’s mandate differs slightly from New York’s by requiring proof of full vaccination but will permit two months for employers to verify their workers’ status.
Inevitably, New York’s mandate will require a learning curve for business operators. But restaurants are also still waiting on more detailed guidance from city officials, like how much information they need to collect and record from customers.
“I feel like it’s going to be a bit of a free-for-all come Monday, where customers and restaurants aren’t really going to know what’s happening with this,” said Art Depole, who co-owns a Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shakes franchise with his brother Nick in midtown Manhattan.