Three tourists visiting New York City from Texas – a 49-year-old, 44-year-old, and her 21-year-old daughter – were arrested, given desk appearance tickets, and released on Thursday afternoon after they verbally and physically assaulted a hostess at an Italian restaurant who asked to see proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented a vaccine mandate for all indoor venues last month. Enforcement began on September 13th. Businesses that either fail or refuse to comply can face fines that start at $1,000 and increase with repeated violations.
The incident – which was caught and recorded on a cell phone camera – occurred around 5:00 p.m. outside of Carmine’s at 90th and Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
“The 24-year-old hostess was punched, slapped, and pushed after she asked the group for proof of vaccination,” CBS2 reported. Two witnesses who attempted to assist the victim were also injured in the kerfuffle.
“This turned into a mess. And from there, it’s inexcusable, it’s ridiculous,” Carmine’s owner Jeff Banks said in a statement. “Our employee, thankfully, is safe. Right now, she’s extremely shook up. Two other people had minor issues.”
Banks added that his employees had been trained on how to verify proof of inoculations.
“We ID for 21-year-olds all the time at the bar,” he said. “We’ve done training weeks before this talking about the enforcement.”
Restaurant operators had anticipated some public pushback against the vaccine requirement, but not the rage that was unleashed on Thursday.
“Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe… I can’t believe this happened here,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said. “We have to increase the fines, if that’s what it takes.”
The New York City Hospitality Alliance said that “it’s a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job – as required by city policies – and trying to make a living. Our focus right now is caring for our employee and the rest of our restaurant family. We are a family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.