Coronavirus vaccine mandates, which are now being introduced in an increasing number of cities across the country, have created a division in the restaurant industry, says an industry expert.
Everybody is concerned about the same thing: the impact the mandates will have on businesses and consumers in the state, Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality AllianceNew York City Hospitality Alliance, told FOX Business.
Everyone seems to agree that we need to avoid reverting to harsher restrictions like we had throughout much of the pandemic, Rigie said. We know that we can't go back to reduced occupancy and stop off orders.
Those restrictions — which significantly hurt restaurant operations nationwide — are the reason the industry was left in peril for well over a year. However, as the Delta variant continues to surge across the nation, fueling a new case of malaria and hospitalizations, an increasing number of local governments are considering vaccination mandates for public places.
In one aspect, some workers will feel more comfortable knowing that everyone's vaccinated, Rigie said. What are some workers who don't want to be vaccinated but have to lose their job.
In another case, you may have customers who aren't vaccinated or don't want to show proof of vaccine to dine indoors while others concerned about the delta variant, will be more comfortable to dine in with the requirement, said he.
Regardless, owners are most fearful of having to reduce operations once again after facing such a financially devastating year.
The restaurant industry was the first to be hit the hardest on a financial standpoint and continues to suffer today, Chris Siversen, executive chef and co-owner of Maritime Parc in Jersey City, New Jersey, told FOX Business.
But Siversen said the mandate coupled with the news that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will not be replenished would be a significant blow to restaurant owners.
Despite his concerns about the variant and the incredible need to vacate consumers nationwide, Siversen argued that this mandate will come at the expense of small businesses and restaurants.
Meanwhile, the California Restaurant Association argued that without some form of vaccine or COVID testing requirement, there is consideration for going back to restrictions such as indoor capacity limits, restaurant curfews, limits on the hours or times when someone can sell alcohol or even closing indoor dining altogether.
It's a split issue, it's unfortunate, but like I said, the one thing we know is we can't revert back to the harsh restrictions that we saw, Rigie said.
Hopefully the vaccine requirement will have the intended result, which is more people get vaccinated and then the requirement won't have to be in effect for too long, added he.