Proof-of-vaccination policies are on the rise in New York City. They can come at a cost.

Just a year after opening its flagship brewery in Ridgewood, Queens, cult favorite Evil Twin has expanded to a . happened with 2nd place In Dumbo earlier this month. The unveiling of a second bar was considered a milestone for the decade-old brewery. Instead, it became a flash point to continue nationwide dialogue around vaccine requirements and indoor gatherings without masks.

Soon after the bar opened in early June, the national review website The Infatuation published an article Regarding the opening with the headline, “Evil Twin Opens a Vaccination-Only Bar in Dumbo This Week.” although the bar was already posted Its vaccine-only policy for social media and “received only positive feedback,” according to owner Jeppe Jernit-Bergers, days after the article surfaced, its Instagram account was flooded with comments, with users calling the decision discriminatory and boycotting. vowed to do so. Brewery (The title and article have since been updated at the request of Jarnit-Bergerso, he says.)

“Dealing with all of this was painful,” Jarnit-Bergerso says. “The fact that we opened as a vaccination-only bar had nothing to do with us saying that people who haven’t been vaccinated are wrong.”

Despite the risk of escalating controversy online, proof-of-vaccination policies began to appear on the reservation pages and Instagram accounts of restaurants and bars across the city in May when the government’s Andrew Cuomo lifted further restrictions, the easing he began. did. With the expansion of indoor dining capabilities at the start of the year. Recently, he announced That New York will adopt federal guidelines and ease the wearing of masks and other rules for vaccinated people that were put in place during the height of the pandemic.

The restaurant has responded quickly. Peru’s hotspot Llama Inn began requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours to dine indoors, according to information listed in its recipe. Profile. Hutong, an upscale Northern Chinese restaurant in Midtown East, also founded requirements. Andrew Tarlow and Roman Kay Huss, authors of Diner’s Brooklyn Restaurant implemented Similar rules in some of their establishments.

For some restaurant and bar owners, converting an indoor dining room into a vaccine-only space means being able to return to pre-pandemic levels of business for the first time in a year. Many restaurants had established their establishments hibernation mode, While others decided to only offer indoor seating when they were allowed to fill their spaces to half capacity or a vaccine was more widely available.

“Both Friday and Saturday Nights” [in early June] Almost broke our overall sales record, even from pre-pandemic,” says a cocktail bar owner in the East Village, who requested anonymity in this article to prevent backlash online against employees. “It was a packed, crowded dancing room… It was absolutely crazy. The vaccinated people are so excited to come in and be back to normal.”

The owner claims that business at the bar has nearly quadrupled in the past two weeks as a result of checking proof of vaccinations, as patrons are no longer required to sit or socially distance. A staff is stationed at the bar’s entrance who checks for a vaccine card, Excelsior pass or negative coronavirus test for the past 72 hours; Non-vaccinated people can sit outside at one of nine tables.

Others, including Jarnit-Burgerso, say they were only able to get their businesses off the ground because they could only open as a vaccine. Evil Twin, which does not check proof of vaccination but operates on the honor system, has no outdoor seating due to a neighborhood-wide construction in Dumbo. And the internal layout of the bar is such that with social distancing requirements in place, the Journit-Bergers can only seat a few people. “We did it because we felt we were forced,” he says. “We had the option of not opening at all or opening that way… I wish we didn’t have to.”

The brewery’s original location in Ridgewood, Queens, remains open to non-vaccinated people because of its large outdoor seating area, Jarnit-Burgerso says.

At the newly opened West Village restaurant Jolene, owner Gabriel Stallman says the vaccine-only policy was not driven by finances, but a desire to return to the relaxed, communal vibe that Stallman’s neighborhood locations in downtown Manhattan are known for. is. When Stulman opened the restaurant in the former Jones Cafe space in late May, he and staff voted unanimously that immunizations are required for customers to dine indoors, while there are no restrictions on the outdoor dining patio. Because of the policy, vaccinated customers can return to food without a hitch, he says.

Jolene’s Dining Room
Eric Medsker/Happy Cooking Hospitality [Official]

“It’s all been a gradual move,” Stallman says of the inch-by-inch return to indoor dining since the start of the year. “To me, it’s like, What’s the next gradual step? The next gradual step is to separate two [dining] Zone.”

Those decisions have come at a cost, however, some owners say. Evil Twin has been receiving hate messages and threats of lawsuits on social media, more than a week after announcing its decision to require vaccinations, according to Jarnit-Bergerso. Those messages, he suspects, aren’t coming from the Evil Twin’s regular patrons — who expressed support As for the policy in Bar’s original Instagram post—and, based on some commenters’ profiles, may not even be made of people living in New York City, he says.

Meanwhile, the unnamed owner of the East Village bar received comments on Instagram describing its proof-of-vaccination policy as “discriminatory” and comparing vaccine requirements to fascism. The owner speculates that online comments may be one reason why some restaurants and bars choose to follow the respect system instead of checking documentation at the door and turning customers away, which could lead to a backlash on social media.

In restaurants, however, response has been more measured than in bars, where the difference between outdoor seating and indoor party vibes is evident. According to Stallman, Jolene has not received any negative feedback about the policy from customers at the restaurant. Chef Jonathan Beno says that at his Italian location Lionelli at Nomads Evelyn Hotel, only a small number of walk-in customers were “not happy with the policy,” although they were comfortable sitting outside.

A red and white curbside outdoor dining patio with a covered awning

Lionelli’s outdoor meeting
Courtesy of Lionelik

Lionelli offered no criticism in Yelp reviews or racy feedback online, and there were only “a few lewd comments on Instagram,” Beno says.

as has been the case Time and Again Throughout the pandemic, New York has largely left businesses to interpret and implement the latest health guidance, which has also fueled negative customer reactions. Jarnit-Bergerso expressed disappointment about the last-minute delivery and lack of clarity around state guidelines For vaccinated customers in restaurants and bars. “I think it’s grossly wrong that the state of New York says there’s no need for more masks for vaccinated people and no social distancing, without giving any guidelines on how it’s going to work, “They say.

And soon, the guidance will change again. government cuomo announced On Monday that once 70 percent of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, restaurants will no longer have to comply with operational restrictions related to the pandemic. Dining rooms will no longer have to comply with social distancing and health screening requirements for any customer, at least vaccinated by a state mandate or not.

Still, there is little detail about how the city’s restaurants and bars should meet vaccine requirements in the meantime. “It puts everything on businesses,” Jarnit-Berjarso says.

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