NYC restaurant hostess assaulted after asking customers for proof of vaccination

A New York City restaurant hostess was assaulted Thursday after asking a group of diners visiting from Texas to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before seating them inside.

Authorities say the assault broke out at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant, located at 2450 Broadway. Bystanders intervened to stop the melee.

The 24-year-old hostess was repeatedly punched and her necklace broken, police said.

Three female suspects, ages 21, 44 and 49 were taken to NYPD’s 24th precinct station house, police said. The investigation is ongoing and the NYPD has not released the name of the victim or the suspects.

The assault follows new vaccine mandates that started to be enforced Monday.

This week, New York City became the first major U.S. city to require restaurants, bars, gyms, entertainment venues and other indoor venues to check for proof of at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before allowing workers and customers aged 12 or older to enter. Any business that fails to comply could face a $1,000 fine.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new Key to NYC policy on Aug. 17., giving businesses nearly four weeks to prepare for the requirements.

“Our goal is to serve our customers great food, offer excellent service and hospitality while keeping our employees and customers safe as we comply with the government mandated COVID-19 protocols,” said a spokesperson from Carmine’s Italian Restaurant. “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 NYC Hospitality Alliance is calling on the mayor to increase awareness of the “Key to NYC” policy for indoor dining to the public, especially to visitors who may be unaware of the policy, according to the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

Additionally, the NYC Hospitality Alliance is seeking to work with the NYPD to ensure no heinous crime like assaulting a restaurant worker will be tolerated in New York City, said Andrew Rigie executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

“Assaulting a restaurant worker for doing their job is abhorrent and those responsible must be held accountable,” Rigie said. “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.”