Inside Edition Investigates if NYC Restaurants Are Checking if Indoor Diners Are Vaccinated as Per New Rule

A new rule requiring proof of vaccination to eat indoors at NYC restaurants went into effect this week. Is it being followed? We visited 15 restaurants to find out.

No vaccination card, no food. 

Starting this week in New York City, if you can’t show restaurants proof that you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, you can’t eat indoors. It’s the most aggressive step the city has taken yet to curb a surge in cases from the delta variant.

But is the new rule being enforced? Inside Edition visited 15 restaurants in Manhattan to find out.

At Mercer Kitchen in the SoHo neighborhood, staff did everything by the book. They asked for ID along with proof of vaccination. And when an Inside Edition producer told the hostess he didn’t have his vaccine card on him, she said she couldn’t seat him inside.

“Unfortunately, if we don't have proof, we can't seat you inside. It's New York law,” the hostess said.

But it was a different story at another restaurant on the Upper East Side. Our producer got a table indoors right away — no questions asked.

At BurgerFi, a popular burger joint, there are new signs on most of their tables saying, “Show us your vax.” But nobody at the restaurant asked our producer to show them anything. 

Inside Edition spoke to a BurgerFi manager the next day and told them what happened.

“I’m shocked right now, not gonna lie. I’m shocked, because I know that I've definitely been asking everyone,” the manager said.

In total, just four out of the 15 restaurants we visited asked to see both proof of vaccination and a matching ID.

Restaurants can face thousands of dollars in fines and license suspensions for repeat violations. 

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