New York restaurant hostess attacked after asking a group of diners from Texas for proof of vaccination

·3 min read
A group of diners from Texas attacked a New York City restaurant hostess after she asked for proof of vaccination (NBC New York)
A group of diners from Texas attacked a New York City restaurant hostess after she asked for proof of vaccination (NBC New York)

Three people have been arrested after they allegedly assaulted a restaurant hostess in New York City who asked them for proof of vaccination.

The prospective diners were visiting from Texas, and footage obtained by NBC New York shows a fight on the pavement outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Both staff and bystanders intervened to end the altercation after it started at around 5pm on Thursday.

Police said the hostess was punched several times and had her necklace broken. The New York City Fire Department said one person was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, but didn’t say who it was or state their condition. NBC New York reported that the hostess was taken to hospital.

The suspects, aged 21, 44, and 49, were taken to the 24th precinct of the NYPD.

This week, New York City became the first major US city to require businesses to ask visitors for proof of vaccination to get access to indoor venues. A business that doesn’t follow the new rule could face a fine of $1,000.

The restaurant told NBC New York that it’s a “shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job — as required by city policies — and trying to make a living”.

Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer tweeted that the Texans’ alleged behaviour was “completely unacceptable” and that “there’s no place for this kind of violence to be perpetrated against our essential workers”.

Marcia Todd was dining in the restaurant when the fight broke out. She told NBC New York: “Businesses have a role and the citizens have a role so I think we all have to be responsible and play our part.”

When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the vaccine requirements last month, he said “not everyone’s going to agree with this,” but that the rules were intended to save lives.

In New York state, 62.1 per cent are fully vaccinated, compared to 54.9 per cent in the US as a whole.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance said in a statement on Friday that the hostess was “physically assaulted” by “several women from the group” when she asked for proof of vaccination.

“Our focus right now is caring for our employees and the rest of our restaurant family,” the restaurant added. “We are a family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness.”

The executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, Andrew Rigie, said: “Assaulting a restaurant worker for doing their job is abhorrent and those responsible must be held accountable. 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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