As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths once again surge thanks to the delta variant, a number of restaurants across the country have announced that they’ll be requiring proof of vaccination for patrons who want to take advantage of indoor facilities. “Our indoor dining space is available for fully vaccinated guests only. Please bring proof of vaccination when you come,” reads a message on the website of Brooklyn restaurant Hart’s, notes Insider, adding that unvaccinated people can eat outside. “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,“ Danny Meyer, founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns Gramercy Tavern, Manhatta, and Union Square Cafe, told CNBC on Thursday. “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.” All of which seems reasonable! Good for society, even!
Then you have Huntington Beach restaurant Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, which is going in a slightly different direction. Per NBC News:
A California restaurant owner is turning heads with a sign posted outside his establishment that asks patrons to show “proof of being unvaccinated.” The sign is taped on the window of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, an Italian restaurant in Huntington Beach. “We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidy. Thank you for pondering,” text at the bottom of the sign reads.
Taped to the front door of the restaurant are two anti-mask posters. The establishment shared images of its signage on its Facebook, writing, “More American counties, cities, and businesses doubling down on anti-American lockdown mandates? Well ‘Basilico’s Pasta e Vino’ just tripled down: From day one, never complied, banned masks, and now … requiring proof of being Un-vaccinated!”
Obviously, it’s impossible to show proof that one hasn’t been vaccinated, so clearly this policy is in part a publicity stunt from a master troll. At the same time, the restaurant’s owner, Tony Roman, would like to make it abundantly clear that he’s an anti-science asshole. Last November, he told Fox Los Angeles that he refused to allow his employees to wear masks and required customers to remove them upon entering the restaurant.
“We have never complied with any restrictions since, and when the tiny tyrants go on the attack with new mandates, we fire back launching new missiles of defiance,” he told NBC Los Angeles on Thursday. “And with the new and aggressive push for mandatory vax policies, we couldn’t resist, so we are sending a message of our own. Hopefully, most are smart enough to read between the lines. Otherwise, we will just sit back and have fun watching their heads explode over it.”
In an appearance on CNN this week, Roman proudly declared to Chris Cuomo that neither he nor anyone in his family is inoculated from the virus:
This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.
And while Roman is defiantly anti-government when the government is urging him and others to get a life-saving vaccine or wear a mask, he’s apparently okay with it in other circumstances. Per the Daily Beast:
The restaurant took a $58,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan. “IT’S OUR MONEY, NOT THEIRS!” owner Tony Roman wrote on Facebook when a local outlet broke the news. “BECAUSE IT’S OUR MONEY, WE TOOK IT BACK AND PUT IT WHERE IT BELONGS, IN OUR BANK ACCOUNT.” On top of receiving multiple citations for flouting COVID mandates, the restaurant might also lose its liquor license.
Anyway, probably a good idea to skip this place whether you’re vaccinated or not. Roman has not said where he comes down on it, but we assume he also thinks those little signs in the bathroom that read “Employees must wash hands” are infringing on his constitutional rights too.
If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here to subscribe.
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Inside the Feverish Mind of Postpresidential Donald Trump
— Joe Manchin Ghosts Workers Whose Jobs His Daughter Helped Outsource
— Fauci Tells Anti-Vaxxers to Sit Down and STFU as COVID Cases Surge
— What If Jeff Bezos’s Big Space Adventure Saves Us All?
— Report: Trump Allegedly Implicated in Company Crimes
— Venture Capital’s Most Contentious Breakup Just Added a Messy New Chapter
— The 2022 Candidate Slate: Send In the Clowns!
— Of Course Trump Has Scammed Millions From His Supporters
— From the Archive: The Star-Crossed, Politicized, Complexified Romance of Jeff Bezos
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.