Exhausted Restaurant Workers Now Face the Risk of Vicious Anti-Vaxxers

Three-fourths of restaurant employees report lower tips as a result of having to enforce COVID restrictions.

Spencer Platt/Getty

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One person is in the hospital after a brawl broke out Thursday afternoon at a restaurant in Manhattan over the city’s vaccine mandate. The city is requiring that patrons show proof of vaccination before entering certain businesses, like restaurants. Businesses that fail to comply could face a $1000 fine.

According to local officials, a hostess at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant asked a group of people from Texas for vaccine proof before they were allowed to enter. The hostess was allegedly punched repeatedly and had her necklace broken, and staff and bystanders had to intervene to break up the melee. Three suspects were arrested and one unidentified person was taken to the hospital.

The incident sheds more light on the type of situations employees have been facing since the beginning of the pandemic. Last May, a Family Dollar store employee was shot and killed after asking a customer to put on a face mask. A November 2020 report from the nonprofit One Fair Wage found that 80 percent of restaurant workers reported a drop in tips when they attempted to enforce COVID-19 restrictions.

Unfortunately, the New York incident probably won’t be the last. As cities and local governments begin implementing vaccine requirements, these same staff who’ve been dealing with people refusing to wear masks will likely have to deal with those who try to bypass vaccine rules.

Meanwhile, New York City officials say they are working with restaurant staff to implement the requirements. “The city provided restaurants with conflict resolution training in recent weeks,” Mitch Schwartz, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “and we’ll continue doing everything we can to help them adjust to this program safely and smoothly.”

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