MANHATTAN – An Upper East Side restaurant is taking the lead in setting a standard for guest and employee safety as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves and cases rise again. Starting this Monday, August 2nd, the Third Avenue Ale House is requiring all patrons 12 and older to show proof of vaccination to dine indoors.
“We’ve been thinking about very actively over the past two weeks as we’ve seen the numbers going up on the news,” General Manager and Partner Chloë Patellis told Upper East Site today, referring to the rapid spread of the coronavirus’ Delta variant.
The highly transmissible and possibly more severe version of Covid-19 now accounts 72% of cases in New York City.
In an instagram story posted today and on their website, Ale House management announced the new policy, which it says is meant to keep their fully vaccinated staff and the community healthy.
The measure was well received on social media, with many praising the restaurant for leading the way on this health issue. “I think we do believe there is going to be restrictions [on restaurants] at some point,” Patellis said, “so why be behind it?”
While you can show proof with the physical paper vaccination card or New York State’s Excelsior Pass— a digital Covid-19 vaccination passport— the Third Avenue Ale House at the northwest corner of Third Avenue and East 92nd Street is making things a little less complicated by also accepting a photo of your card as proof of vaccination.
If you aren’t vaccinated or forget to bring proof, you’re not out of luck– the Third Avenue Ale house isn’t checking vaccination status to dine outdoors.
”We know that there are people that cant get the vaccine and this is our way of being inclusive,” Chloë said.
Earlier this week, acclaimed restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer announced on CNBC that his Union Square Hospitality Group, including the Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, would require all employees and diners who wished to be seated indoors show proof of vaccination starting September 7th.
“This is the most logical thing I’ve ever seen,” Meyer told CNBC. “I’m not a scientist, but I know how to read data and what I see is that this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated, and I feel strong responsibility, on our part as business leaders, to take care of our team and our guests, and that’s what we’re doing.”
At the Third Avenue Ale House, Meyer’s announcement wasn’t the catalyst for their decision, but provided a sense of solidarity they were going in the right direction. ”We had already made the decision that we were going to do it… but it gave us a little more confidence,” Chloë told Upper East Site.
While some restaurants are just starting to make the switch, the vaccinated-only policy has come and gone at one Upper East Side establishment.
Brandy’s Piano Bar on East 84th Street initially instituted a proof-of-vaccination policy for entry back in May, but dialed it back once their entire staff was vaccinated. Now, Brandy’s encourages the unvaccinated to mask-up, but tells Upper East Site the bar may bring the rule back, as most patrons were fine with it.
Back at Third Avenue Ale House, we found that patrons are glad they’re instituting the policy, telling Upper East Site it makes them feel safer indoors.
”We’re a small place so we engage a lot with our guests,” Chloë says, “some were asking us if we were going to do this.”
For its part, the Ale House management says it is just thankful for all the support they’ve received on this policy.
“I think we were kind of proud knowing we were making the decision,” GM Chloe Patellis said, “not because it was being enforced on us, we just felt this was the right next step.”