HUDSON — As the pandemic continues to take its toll on the restaurant industry, the owners of at least one local restaurant have taken matters into their own hands by requiring proof of vaccination for service.
Red Dot, located at 321 Warren St., announced on social media Aug. 4 that the restaurant would require proof of vaccination for patrons. A sign also hangs in the window indicating the policy.
“Due to the current situation and to protect staff and our customers, for the time being we will only be admitting people that are fully vaccinated. We will be requesting to see your vaccine card upon entry,” the restaurant said on social media.
Owner Alana Hauptmann said the move came after the Delta variant worsened the pandemic and she thought it could become a mandate.
“It just made sense to me,” she said.
The restaurant said it understands that the decision could be an inconvenience for some.
“We hope you all understand that this is to protect everyone,” according to a statement issued by the restaurant. “So be healthy and well and we’ll see you soon. Dining in the guaranteed calming knowledge that everyone around you is vaccinated.”
The restaurant also said all staff is vaccinated and will show proof if customers ask to see it. The decision was met with support on social media with some saying they will be more comfortable dining in because of it.
Hauptmann said she hopes other restaurants will consider the policy, as the pandemic “doesn’t seem to be getting better.”
Some restaurants and shops in town have posted signs requiring masks regardless of vaccination status, including Spotty Dog Books & Ale and Hudson Wine Merchants.
Both establishments reinstated mask-wearing requirements after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines and recommended masks indoors for vaccinated people as well.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Aug. 3 that proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for indoor activities, including dining, will be required for both workers and customers in the city. Inspections and enforcement of the policy will begin Sept. 13.
“It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, in indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment facilities. This is going to be a requirement. The only way to patronize these establishments indoors will be if you’re vaccinated, at least one dose,” de Blasio said. “The same for folks in terms of work. They’ll need at least one dose. This is crucial because we know that this will encourage a lot more vaccination.”
Columbia County Public Health Director Jack Mabb said although restaurants are inspected by the department, they aren’t required to inform the department of decisions to require vaccinations.
As an issue of public health, Mabb said he supports the idea.
“By requiring vaccines, and if Red Dot happens to be your favorite place and it pushes you to get a vaccine, it’s a good thing,” Mabb said.
Hauptmann said the response has overall been positive and that people — especially from the city where it is already becoming a requirement — would be open to it.
“Why would they give us vaccine cards if not to use them?” Hauptmann said.