It wasn't long ago that one of the city's most famous restaurants was dark and closed because of COVID, but now Gramercy Tavern and the rest of the Union Square Hospitality Group is back in business and its leader made a bold decision to stay that way.
"If you really want to go unvaccinated, you could dine somewhere else, and you can also go work somewhere else," Danny Meyer said.
For the privilege of dining at Meyer's restaurants, diners will have to be vaccinated. And if his employees don't get the shot by Sept. 7, they'll be out of work.
Diners and employees will be required to show a vaccine card, photo of their vaccine card, or Excelsior pass.
"When we know that we care deeply about hygiene in every other respect of our restaurants and we know so much about the science of what's happening with the delta variant, especially for people who have not been vaccinated, why in the world would we just stand by and not take action right now?" Meyer said.
De Blasio pointed to the Thursday announcement by Meyer that his restaurants would mandate that all staff and customers must be vaccinated.
The mayor's spokesperson called it "a bold move supported and encouraged by the mayor, with the full backing of the NYC government. This is the path forward."
De Blasio said the city is studying the CDC masking guidelines that were released on Tuesday which recommended that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.
"We want to make sure we are very precise about it," de Blasio said. "The bottom line is there are a lot of places where masks are mandated right now; schools, hospitals, congregate settings, mass transit, and then we've advised everyone who is unvaccinated to wear a mask."
The mayor emphasized that the city is focused on getting as many people vaccinated as possible and encouraging people to get the shot by 'rewarding' those who have been vaccinated by restricting what the unvaccinated can do.
"This is the shape of things to come. We want to make sure we send the right message, constantly reinforcing and rewarding folks for vaccination and making clear to unvaccinated folks, not only are they putting themselves and their family in danger, but they will not have the opportunity to do the things they want to do, because it's going to be more and more for vaccinated people," de Blasio said.
The mayor noted that's why many aspects of life, such as the city's recently announced 'Homecoming Week' concert series, will only be accessible to those who have received a vaccine.
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