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Some NYC Restaurants Pushing Back Against Vaccine Mandate: 'I Just Don't Think That We're Gonna Be The Vaccination Police'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Starting next week, proof of vaccination will be required in New York City for some indoor activities, including going out to eat, but not all restaurants are on board.

"Whether you're vaccinated or not, you are welcome," said Mary Josephine Generoso, manager at Pasticceria Rocco's of Bay Ridge.

There's a sign of protest in the window of the restaurant, defiant against Mayor Bill de Blasio's upcoming vaccine mandate.

It reads, "We do not discriminate against ANY customer based on sex, gender, race, creed, age, vaccinate or unvaccinated. All customers who wish to patronize are welcome in our establishment."

"I just do not feel that we're gonna be able to sit there and ask customers to show if they've been vaccinated or not," Generoso told CBS2's Ali Bauman.


Starting next week, proof of vaccination will be required citywide for indoor activities such as dining, gyms and concerts. After a grace period, enforcement will then begin on Sept. 13.

"I just don't think that we're gonna be the vaccination police. That's up to the mayor's office. It's up to the health department to figure out, but it certainly shouldn't be the burden of store owners, bars and gyms to be regulating that," Generoso said.

It's a very different scene at Boca restaurant in the Bronx, where free vaccines are on the menu this week.

"We're doing this in lieu of all those other dramatic measures that are killing our Latino restaurant businesses," said Arelia Taveras, executive director of the New York State Latino Bar and Lounge Association.

The mandate will apply to both workers and customers and is the first of its kind in the United States.

"The way that we defeat Delta is having enough New Yorkers get vaccinated so that it goes away once and for all," said Dr. Ted Long, executive director of New York City Test and Trace.


More than 30 restaurants across New York City already required proof of vaccination, including City Winery on Manhattan's West Side. They say most customers are comfortable with the enforcement.

"All they have to do is present their smartphone with their copy of their vaccination card or their Excelsior pass or they can bring the actual card with them," said Laura Albers, vice president of marketing for City Winery.

A spokesman for City Hall says the mayor will have more information on enforcement, training and penalties for restaurants in the coming weeks. In the meantime, City Hall is working with the industry on how the logistics of this mandate will all shake out.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on August 11.

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