Restaurant Group’s CEO: Customers Will Have to Give Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

July 29, 2021 Updated: July 30, 2021

The founder of Shake Shack said Thursday his Union Square Hospitality Group will require indoor diners and drinkers at its restaurants to show that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Employees will also have to get the vaccine, Danny Meyer said, although he didn’t say whether they would be fired or be forced to wear masks.

However, the policy will not be extended to Shake Shack, a hamburger fast-food restaurant that has a number of locations in the northeastern United States.

The policy will be implemented at the Union Square Hospitality Group, which oversees Gramercy Tavern, Manhattan, and Union Square Cafe. The group operates Anchovy Social in Washington, as well.

Meyer made the announcement about his restaurant’s vaccine policy on CNBC, saying the vaccine requirement is “the most logical thing I’ve ever seen.”

“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,” said Meyer, who is chairman of Shake Shack’s board.

“We’re going to give our employees 45 days to make the choice and hopefully this will be the incentive that really makes them say, ‘You know what, now I’m going to do it.'”

Regarding Shake Shack’s policy, Meyer told CNBC that the fast-casual burger chain “will make the appropriate decision for them at the appropriate time.”

Epoch Times Photo
Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan, New York. (Google Maps Street View)

Several New York City government officials applauded Meyer’s announcement on July 29.

“BIG: Restauranteur and NYCEDC Chair Danny Meyer just announced a vaccine mandate for staff and customers at his restaurants. A bold move supported and encouraged by [Mayor de Blasio], with the full backing of the NYC government. This is the path forward,” Bill Neidhardt, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary, wrote on Twitter.

Vaccine passports or similar systems have been routinely criticized by Republican officials as well as civil liberties groups for creating a two-tiered, caste-based society. Vaccinated people would essentially have rights that unvaccinated people don’t have under such a system, critics have argued.

Some Republican-led states have moved to ban vaccine passports in government buildings. Florida passed a bill into law earlier this year that prohibits all businesses from using such a system.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reversed its mask policy and recommended that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks in high-transmission areas, although the agency hasn’t yet published data backing up its claims.

Several large businesses and various federal government agencies followed suit and reimposed masking mandates after the CDC’s announcement. The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, meanwhile, implemented a citywide masking order a day after the agency’s policy update.

The Epoch Times has contacted Union Square Hospitality Group for additional comment, including how restaurants will verify whether a customer is vaccinated.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.