NYC Restaurants: We Won't Be 'Vaccination Police'

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine / Getty Images
August 13, 2021

Some New York City restaurants will defy Mayor Bill de Blasio's (D.) order to ban unvaccinated people from entering businesses.

De Blasio's mandate, which officially takes effect next week but will start being enforced Sept. 13, requires anyone who enters an indoor business in New York City to show proof of vaccination. The proof can come in the form of either the city's "Key to NYC Pass," the state's "Excelsior Pass," or a vaccination card.

But Pasticceria Rocco in Brooklyn won't be requiring any passes from its customers, manager Mary Josephine Generoso told CBS New York. The award-winning Italian pastry shop and restaurant posted a sign in its window that reads: "We do not discriminate against ANY customer based on sex, gender, race, creed, age, vaccinated or unvaccinated."

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

Other New York restaurants are also striking a note of protest against regulations they consider government overreach.

Michael Musto, the owner of Cargo Café in Staten Island, told the Associated Press that he will return to all-outdoor dining, to which de Blasio's mandate does not apply.

"I just don't see myself doing that, asking for proof," Musto said.

Critics, including city councilman Joseph Borelli (R.), have noted that the mandate will be especially tough on black and Latino New Yorkers, who have low vaccination rates and will thus be banned from restaurants, gyms, theaters, concerts, museums, and other indoor businesses under de Blasio's order. Only 43 percent of Latinos and 32 percent of blacks in New York City are fully vaccinated, according to city health department data.

How the city will enforce the mandate is unclear. City officials have suggested that businesses that do not comply will be fined.