It happened at Carmine's Restaurant at 2450 Broadway on the Upper West Side around 5 p.m. Thursday, on day three of enforcement of city's vaccine mandates.
City inspectors had just commended Carmine's for their enforcement of the policy, but hours later, the hostess was allegedly attacked by three women from Houston who didn't want to eat outside.
The cell phone video shows the chaos outside the eatery, and you can hear screaming as the women lunge at her and other members of the group and staff jump in to drag them away.
WATCH FULL VIDEO:
"She was very intimidated, crying, all that," Carmine's Chef Alejandro Delgado said.
The 22-year-old victim, who had only been on the job three weeks, asked the women for vaccination proof and then ID cards to match the vaccine cards.
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When she questioned the legitimacy of their vaccination cards, the out-of-town visitors got upset and lunged at her, punching her repeatedly and also injuring two other staff members.
The women reportedly didn't want to show ID, which police say contributed to the belief they were not valid.
"The last 18 months have been surreal for restaurant industry," Alicart Restaurant Group CEO and President Jeffrey Bank said. "Everyone has done everything they can to keep our employees and our guests safe, and this is just yet another day, another chapter of crap we have to go through on a daily basis."
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said such an incident is completely unacceptable.
"Do not assault restaurant workers," she said. "They're trying to keep us safe. We're trying to keep them safe."
The alleged assailants were identified as 49-year-old Sally Lewis, 44-year-old Kaeita Rankin, and her 21-year-old daughter Tyonnie Rankin. They were all taken into police custody and charged with assault and criminal mischief.
The hostess was taken to the hospital.
The owner of Carmine's now joins other restaurants around the city in raising concerns about the enforcement of the vaccine mandate.
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They've now hired private security to stand at the hostess booth for the weekend.
"There needs to be rules and laws that are stricter," Bank said. "We can't just put a law on the books without enforcement. Whether it's my responsibility or not, fine, we'll do what we're told and what we're asked of. We always have the last 18 months. But there should be some teeth behind the mandate."
The women were given desk appearance tickets, and Bank is now joining others in calling on the city to increase awareness of the new mandate with stricter fines for violators.
"Assaulting a restaurant worker for doing their job is abhorrent and must be punished," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. "We're calling on the city and state of New York to immediately increase penalties for assaulting restaurant workers in New York City in conjunction with enforcement of COVID-19 protocols."
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