Food news

“That will paralyze the industry again.”

A customer shows her vaccination card to a host at City Winery, a restaurant in New York, on May 26, 2021. Victor J. Blue / The New York Times

  • An ongoing list of restaurants and bars in the Boston area that require proof of vaccination

  • Reader: Should measure. require proof of vaccination in restaurants?

Following New York City’s recent announcement that indoor restaurants will require proof of vaccination, other major cities across the country are considering the same issue. While incumbent Mayor Kim Janey said Boston will not require proof of vaccination, depending on the rate of new COVID-19 cases, a state mandate may still be in sight.

To get a feel for how proof of vaccination would affect the dining experience, we asked restaurateurs and Boston.com readers for their opinion on this issue. Here’s what they had to say.

Restaurateurs are divided on the subject.

A growing number of Boston area chefs and restaurant owners have chosen to issue their own proof of vaccination, with venues like City Winery, Grendel’s Den, PAGU, Rebel Rebel, and The Quiet Few requiring digital or physical vaccination IDs on entry.

But not everyone in the industry is on board with the idea.

“Absolutely and definitely no,” said Andrew Li, owner of Flora’s Wine Bar. “That will cripple the industry again. The comfort of the average diner will decrease and people just won’t dine in restaurants that often. “

Li, who opened Flora’s Wine Bar in Newton in February 2020, said he believes a mandate will result in more restaurants closing permanently.

Cheryl Straughter, cook and owner of Roxbury’s Soleil, agreed, suggesting that Massachusetts require masks inside instead.

“There are too many inconsistencies with masks,” she said. “They should be mandatory inside so that all companies can operate under the same policy.”

Some restaurant owners worry about how having a vaccination certificate might affect their staff.

The mandatory proof of vaccination would “require an additional man at the door at all times,” said Arpit Patel, owner of Baramor in Newton. “We can’t check the vaccination cards without a dedicated person at the door. It increases costs and manpower requirements. We already cannot find enough workers to keep up with demand. … If such rules are implemented, how are we supposed to find someone who is committed to enforcing them at any time in an already tough job market? “

David Doyle, owner of Tres Gatos, Little Dipper and Casa Verde in Jamaica Plain, said he was concerned that the introduction of this mandate would put additional strain on his employees and “negatively affect employee morale.” But he also believes that a universal approach would lead to a better success rate instead of leaving it to individual companies.

“Mandate oversight would definitely be an added burden on companies, many of whom are already overwhelmed by staff and other challenges, but if the end result is a higher vaccination percentage it would be a win-win for the entire community,” he said.

Other restaurant owners surveyed are on board with a universal mission. Ana Sortun, cook and owner of Oleana in Cambridge, said she loved the idea and that it “would make people feel more comfortable eating indoors”. Mahaniyom owner and bar manager Chompon Boonnak is a fan, notes that his Brookline restaurant may be losing business, but safety is paramount. Nevertheless, he has concerns.

“What about children who [are] not vaccinated? “he asked.” And I feel [like] People can fake [their] Vaccination certificate. “

And Gracies Ice Cream and Earnest Drinks owner Aaron Cohen believes Massachusetts should follow New York City’s lead as long as the state makes it easy for people to prove their status.

“Vaccination records seem to make a lot of sense,” he said.

60% of the readers surveyed say that Mass. should request proof of vaccination in restaurants

More than 2,000 Boston.com readers responded to our survey, with approximately 60 percent of respondents saying that eating indoors should require proof of vaccination. In addition, around 62 percent of all survey participants said they would continue to eat out if a mandate was issued.

“At the moment I don’t go to restaurants because I’m careful with the Delta variant. I would actually feel good going to restaurants if I knew that everyone there would be vaccinated! ”- Nina, Holyoke

“The vaccination certificate protects the restaurant staff as well as other guests. Unvaccinated guests could still have takeaway, delivery and al fresco dining. Preventing the transmission will prevent outbreaks and business disruptions, which will benefit everyone in the long run. “

“We need to limit what the unvaccinated can do to protect those who cannot be vaccinated and the vaccinated. This can help those who are vaccinated to get the vaccine. ”- Tina, Somerville

“The restaurant staff lasted an exhausting 18 months. Evidence of vaccination can take away some of your fears of going to work every day. And restaurants can refuse to serve for any reason, such as: B. if they are not properly dressed. Of course, they should be able to refuse to serve anything that poses a demonstrable health risk to other guests and staff. … If you don’t get vaccinated, don’t expect to get the same benefits from society for not upholding your end of the social contract. ”- Rob, Boston

“The vaccination honor system doesn’t work. The rate of infection cannot be controlled unless people are vaccinated and those who are not vaccinated are required to wear masks. Mask requirement in restaurants is a small price to pay in the fight against COVID. “

“I think any public space that required proof of vaccination should have been in place months ago to prevent further outbreaks and mutations of the virus. I kept my vaccination card in my wallet all the time and I would like to show it to ensure my safety and that of others. For me it is nothing more than other vaccines that we receive as children to prevent mass diseases in schools and public spaces. “

“Yes please. Would like to patronize companies that prioritize health and safety.” – Leah, Arlington

34% say they will stop eating if the state requires a vaccination certificate

More than a third of those polled were against a Massachusetts mandate requiring proof of vaccination in restaurants. And when we asked readers if they would still go out to eat if they were given a mandate, 34 percent of all respondents said they wouldn’t.

“People are not allowed to be vaccinated because they have natural immunity or medical conditions that prohibit it. For this they should not be pushed out of society. Mandates are discriminatory and only aim to divide people even more than we already are. ”- Ali, Watertown

“Let every facility, restaurant and worker choose their own preferences.”

“As a restaurant worker who has worked through the ups and downs of COVID regulations, there is no way I will ask people to see proof of vaccination. It was a struggle to enforce masks and social distancing. How are we going to enforce this? What’s to stop someone from making a fake? Or boycott restaurants? ”- Christine, Wilmington

“I will not go to an institution that asks me (alone) to provide evidence. I support their right to set the rules for their formation, but I disagree with the stance. But that’s what makes this country so great. The freedom to choose. “

“This mandate would put restaurant owners and employees in a dire position. They are not code officers or law enforcement officers. “

“I’m vaccinated, but the idea that people have to show their papers to go out to eat disgusts me. I will not eat in any restaurant that has this draconian hyperbole. ”- Andy Haydu, Dover

“It’s a virus, it’s here to stay. However, my patronage will not apply if you do not respect my right to privacy. It is not up to a restaurateur or a shopkeeper to ask for my medical record. We like to visit institutions that recognize data protection limits … otherwise we leave the state. And if it continues to break the law, we will leave the state permanently and take our tax dollars with us. – Kat, Woburn

Some readers still weigh both sides.

A handful of interviewed readers voted “other” on both questions, with exceptions that could change their minds.

“Only if they develop a better card,” wrote one reader. “There are too many people who think the whole thing is a joke. They will do what they want. “

Some readers said that although they were vaccinated, they still didn’t go to restaurants and instead rely on takeout. Another said they are in favor of the mandate, but only if they can bring their unvaccinated one-year-old with them.

“That depends on the current infection rate,” wrote one reader, while another said a mandate would be endorsed “as soon as the current increase subsides”.

Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and polls. These results should be read as an unscientific measure of reader opinion.

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