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NYC restaurant host assaulted by customers after she asked them for vaccination proof

Proof of vaccine will be required at NYC restaurants, gyms and concerts
Proof of vaccine will be required at NYC rest... 08:55

New York — A host at a popular New York City restaurant was assaulted by three women from Texas after she asked for proof they had been vaccinated against COVID-19, police said.

The three women punched the host at Carmine's on the Upper West Side repeatedly and broke her necklace Thursday afternoon after she asked for proof of vaccination, which is required to dine inside at a restaurant in New York City, police said in a news release. 

The attack left the 24-year-old victim bruised and scratched, police said. Restaurant owner Jeffrey Bank said the employee was taken to a hospital for treatment and was doing well Friday but was "extremely shook up."

The three women — a 49-year-old, a 44-year-old and her 21-year-old daughter, according to CBS New York — were arrested on charges of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief, authorities said. They were given desk appearance tickets and ordered to appear in court Oct. 5.

Vaccination proof required by law

New York City's rule requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues has been in effect since Aug. 17 but is only being enforced as of this week. The law is part of the city's plan to combat the COVID-19 Delta variant. The goal: to persuade more people to get vaccinated or else miss out on city amenities like restaurants, bars, gyms, public performances, museums and other venues.

No fines for failing to check vaccination status have been issued yet, Mitch Schwartz, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Friday.

The incident highlights the pressure on workers at restaurants, bars, hotels, retailers and other businesses in states and cities that are now verifying patrons' vaccination status. According to CBS New York, The New York City Hospitality Alliance issued a statement on behalf of Carmine's, saying in part:

"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."

Lawsuit over NYC's COVID vaccine mandate 07:52

Schwartz said the city has conducted 5,440 total inspections of restaurants and other businesses affected by the mandate and given out 2,176 warnings. No fines are being issued based on an initial inspection, but there will be a $1,000 fine for the next violation, Schwartz said.

Carmine's, which has two locations in New York City as well as outposts in spots including Las Vegas, is known for large servings of pasta and other Italian dishes.

"It's just surreal"

Bank, the CEO of the restaurant group of which Carmine's is a part, said the host who was assaulted had offered the women a seat outdoors after they did not produce satisfactory proof of vaccination.

"We follow the laws," Banks said at a news conference outside the restaurant. "I respect the vaccine mandate. We have an option, if you're not vaccinated, sit outside."

He said Thursday's altercation started with a verbal dispute and escalated quickly. "It's ridiculous that she's sitting here saying, 'Please don't assault me.' It's just surreal," Bank said.

He said there would be security at the restaurant's host stand Friday.

"Of course we're going to have security tonight," Bank said. "We want everyone to feel safe. Is it necessary? I don't know, but after last night for sure we're going to have it."

Some people on social media rallied on behalf of the Carmine's hostess.

"Would you please publish the Venmo or Zelle for the hostess who was so brutally attacked by the Texan tourists?," one person posted on Carmine's Facebook page. "I think many of us would like to donate to her to at least cover whatever medical costs she incurred and income she lost by being harmed during her shift."

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