On May 17th, Governor Cuomo lifted nearly all of NYC’s capacity and mask restrictions, in accordance with the CDC’s recently-updated recommendations. Despite the new advice that vaccinated New Yorkers aren’t required to wear masks in most indoor or outdoor spaces, the governor also said that “individual private venues still have the ability to add additional guidelines to the state guidelines and the CDC guidelines.”’ Meaning that restaurants and bars could decide for themselves whether or not to require customers to show proof of vaccination status in order to dine inside.
What may have felt like a hypothetical “check-in-with-your-Excelsior-pass” scenario in early May is now a reality. As of this week, some NYC restaurants and bars have begun asking customers for proof of vaccination before seating them indoors.
Diner in Williamsburg, for example, now includes this statement on their Resy page: “Beginning May 24th our indoor dining areas will be reserved for fully vaccinated guests only. Once you have confirmed your party’s vaccination status with the host, you will be allowed to remove your mask for the duration of your meal! If you have not yet been vaccinated you are absolutely welcome, we simply ask that you reserve for one of our outdoor tables!”
Requiring proof of vaccination allows restaurants to fill their dining room at a full, 100% capacity without needing to separate tables by six feet or install five-foot-high plexiglass barriers between parties..
Another incentive to require vaccination status is the potential to make diners and staff feel comfortable eating and working indoors. On their Resy page, Llama San in the West Village and their sister location in Williamsburg note that their new vaccination requirement “will help bring peace of mind to you and your guests to fully enjoy your dining experience with us. Similarly, the entirety of our staff has been vaccinated or will provide frequent negative covid tests.” Jolene, a recently-opened restaurant in NoHo in The Jones former space, has similar messaging.
Some Brooklyn bars, like Goldie’s in Greenpoint and Skinny Dennis in Williamsburg, are also requiring proof of vaccination or negative Covid test results to hang out in their indoor spaces. In an Instagram post, the team at Goldie wrote, “We’re going mask free and no distancing in here and want everyone to be safe and sound! Mostly we want to see you !!”
Meanwhile others, like Hunky Dory in Crown Heights, are sticking with their previous mask policy for now. “We express our gratitude and make space for both science AND people here, by still requiring you to wear a mask inside our building, and also anytime you are directly interacting with our workers on the patio or bellying up to the window.”
For more on the new mask and capacity policies, read our FAQ here.