As New York City mandates COVID-19 shots for diners, restaurants already enforcing vaccine rules say customers have left bad reviews and screamed at them down the phone

New York City’s vaccine mandate requires people to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to do things like eat at a restaurant, work out at a gym, and watch a show at the theater.
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New York City’s vaccine mandate for indoor activities, including dining in, came into force Monday.
Restaurants in the US that have already enforced mandates told the WSJ about backlash from diners.
"People scream at us through the phone," one owner said. Another said diners had left bad reviews.
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You must have received at least one COVID-19 shot to dine at restaurants in New York City from Monday.
Restaurants across the US that have voluntarily enforced the policy told The Wall Street Journal that they’ve had backlash from some customers – including canceled reservations and angry reviews.
Meghna Prakash, the owner of restaurant Off Alley in Seattle, told The Journal that some people had even accused her of discriminating against unvaccinated people.
"Making these policy decisions by ourselves is putting targets on our backs," she said.
James Lim told The Journal that most of his customers had supported the vaccine mandate at his restaurant – Watson’s Counter in Ballard, Washington – earlier this month. But not all had.
"People scream at us through the phone. They say racist things," Lim said. "It’s all about the vaccines."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans for New York City’s vaccine mandate on August 3 amid rising cases of the Delta variant across the US.
The city’s mandate requires people to provide proof of at least one COVID-19 shot to eat at a restaurant, work out at a gym, and watch a show at the theater. You must be vaccinated to work at these venues, too.
San Francisco is introducing a similar policy, too.
Art Depole, who co-owns a Mooyah Burgers, Fries, and Shakes franchise in Manhattan, told CNBC that he predicted a "free-for-all come Monday, where customers and restaurants aren’t really going to know what’s happening with this."
He said some of his staff had threatened to quit if getting vaccinated became a term of their employment.
Depole also said that handling customers who won’t comply could be difficult for staff. He said he expected support for the mandate from local residents, but more backlash from tourists.
Tyler Hollinger, the owner of Festivál Cafe in Manhattan, told Insider’s Jamie Killin earlier this month that "if the state wants private business to do the policing, then they should compensate us to do the government’s job of policing."
But some restaurant owners are more optimistic about the mandate. They told The Journal that it could ultimately prevent them from having to close again, and that loyal customers would still continue to reward them with business.
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