Most NYC Restaurants Not Enforcing Vaccine Mandate

A sign is viewed at a restaurant in New York's Upper West Side on August 17, 2021, the first day where you have to show proof of having a Covid-19 vaccination to participate in indoor dining. - The vaccine mandate also includes indoor gyms, and all indoor entertainment in New York City. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
September 17, 2021

Most restaurants in New York City are not enforcing the city's vaccine mandate, an Inside Edition investigation indicates.

The CBS investigative program sent undercover agents to 15 restaurants in Manhattan to see if staff were asking patrons for proof of vaccination, as required by new health regulations that the city began enforcing this week. Only 4 out of 15 restaurants Inside Edition visited asked for proof of vaccination and a matching ID.

Most of the restaurants' staff seated patrons with no questions asked. One burger joint had signs put up saying, "Show us your vax," but staff did not enforce the order.

Some New York restaurants openly rebelled against the mandate when Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) announced it in August.

"Whether you're vaccinated or not, you are welcome," one Italian pastry shop manager said. "I just don't think that we're going to be the vaccination police."

Critics, including city lawmakers, have said the mandate will have a disparate negative impact on minority residents, who have low vaccination rates.

Businesses that violate the vaccine mandate could face fines of $1,000 for the first violation and up to $5,000 for subsequent violations.