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Caught On Video: Carmine's Hostess Attacked After Asking Tourists For Proof Of Vaccination

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's extra security Friday at Carmine's on the Upper West Side a day after a hostess was attacked by a group of tourists.

Police say they refused to show proof of vaccination in order to eat inside.

As CBS2's Kevin Rincon reports, vaccination checks are ongoing at the door of the restaurant after the three tourists from Texas assaulted a 24-year-old hostess.

The NYPD said the hostess was punched, slapped and her necklace ripped off after she asked the group for proof of vaccination, a new city policy to dine indoors.

People needed to be physically pulled off as they nearly knocked over the hostess stand.

"This turned into a mess. And from there, it's inexcusable, ridiculous," Carmine's owner Jeff Banks said. "We ID for 21-year-olds all the time at the bar. We've done training weeks before this talking about the enforcement."

NYC Vaccine Mandate: Where And How To Show Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Activities

Carmine's owner said the 24-year-old hostess just started working there weeks ago.

"Our employee, thankfully, is safe right now. She's extremely shook up," Banks said. "Two other people had minor issues."

"I saw her scratched on the neck," a chef added.

Banks said the hostess is at home recovering.

Two other workers who tried to help put an end to the fight suffered minor injuries.

People dining both inside and out say the rules are the rules.


"We think that's a great policy to protect the servers and the people who have to work and deal with that. I think it's great they require proof of vaccination and I think it's appalling they assaulted someone because they required proof," said diner Sophia Burnal of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"I don't think people should be personally attacked for others that are fighting against the vaccine," said Upper West Side resident Kianna Thompson.

The three women, a 49-year-old, a 44-year-old and her 21-year-old daughter were taken into custody, given a desk appearance ticket, and released.

"A physical fight with a person who is doing their job, it's not OK," one person said.

"I'm into protecting yourself from somebody attacking you, but definitely not into violence," said Upper West Side resident Elyse Stone.

Meanwhile, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer says the penalties need to be harsher.

"Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe. I can't believe this happened here," she said. "We have to increase the fines, if that's what it takes."

So far, it has been up to restaurants and other establishments to enforce the COVID rules. The city has gone around doing inspections. This week, they've gone to thousands of places with nearly half of those checks ending in warnings, but no fines.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance issued a statement, which read 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."

Banks says he has no option but to pay for security to monitor the front entrance to keep his staff safe.

Restaurant owners who do not comply with the mandate can face fines starting at $1,000. The city offered training for restaurant workers on how to handle unruly customers, but many say they need more help.

A court date for the three women is set for October.

Kevin Rincon and Natalie Duddridge contributed to this report. Editor's note: This story was first published Sept. 17.

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