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‘You Can Dine Somewhere Else’: Restaurateur Danny Meyer Says He’ll Turn Away Unvaccinated Diners

And he'll require all employees to be vaccinated too.

Union Square Hospitality Group and restaurateur Danny Meyer is shown, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, at the annuaal C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) benefit in New York. Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern and Shake Shack are among the many restaurants in the group. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) Kathy Willens/AP

Danny Meyer has joined a growing list of restaurateurs and bar owners across the country who are taking action to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The New York-based restauranteur behind Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) has announced all customers and employees must provide proof of vaccination to enter his 18 venues. That includes such New York restaurants as The Modern, Manhatta and Gramercy Tavern, along with Anchovy Social and Maialino Mare in D.C.

“If you really want to go unvaccinated, you can dine somewhere else, and you can also go work somewhere else,” Meyer told CNN Thursday. “I would call this a company policy rather than a mandate.”

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The policy, which will go into effect Tuesday, September 7, will require all guests who are dining inside to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 upon arrival by showing either a physical copy or photograph of their vaccine card or a relevant state-provided vaccine pass.

Staff will be also required to show proof of vaccination and USHG will give team members eight hours of paid time off for each vaccine dose they receive. Meyer did tell CNBC that the majority of employees have already been vaccinated.

Meyer, who is also the founder of Shake Shack and chairman of the chain’s board, said his USHG policy doesn’t extend to the fast food chain.

Meyer’s not the only one taking a hard-line approach. Following a surge in Covid-19 cases attributed to the fast-spreading Delta variant, there has been an influx of restaurants and bars are announcing they’ll require diners to be vaccinated, or at the very least present a negative test result. In fact, Big Apple mainstays, including Dame, Estela and Frenchette, now require proof of vaccination.

USHG’s new policy did not go unnoticed. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the decision was “huge,” adding that the city “fully supports the move and more businesses should mandate vaccines.” New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells also took to social media to praise the policy, which he hopes is “adopted far and wide.”

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