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Danny Meyer’s D.C. Restaurants Will Require Proof of Vaccinations for Indoor Dining

Maialino Mare and Anchovy Social will start asking customers for vaccination cards in September

Wall-to-wall windows let in lots of light at Maialino Mare
Maialino Mare will start checking proof of vaccinations on September 7
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Vowing to protect his businesses and the employees that make them run, New York-based restaurant magnate Danny Meyer announced on CNBC today that his Union Square Hospitality Group will soon require all employees and customers who are dining inside to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That includes Maialino Mare and Anchovy Social, the Roman-style seafood restaurant and accompanying rooftop bar at the Thompson hotel in D.C.’s Navy Yard, a representative for the company confirms.

The policy goes into effect Tuesday, September 7, the day after Labor Day, giving people the entire month of August to acquire vaccines. Union Square Hospitality Group plans to continue hosting unvaccinated diners outdoors, a representative says.

Meyer’s move to require vaccinations for indoor dining follows a handful of other restaurants in New York but is the first of its kind that Eater has seen in D.C. The Washington Post published a column last week reporting that tiny Pho, Banh Mi and Grill in Fairfax, Virginia, is requiring indoor diners to show their vaccination cards.

USHG has already updated a webpage detailing its safety protocols with its new pledge, telling customers that once the policy is active, they’ll need to produce a physical COVID-19 vaccine card, a photo of the card, or a state-provided digital vaccine pass.

USHG will also host information sessions about vaccines for employees, who will get eight hours of paid time off for each vaccine they receive. Meyer told CNBC the majority of the company’s staff is already vaccinated. Meyer, who is also the founder of Shack Shack, tells CNBC that company will formulate its own policy on requiring vaccinations for indoor diners.

The famous restaurateur’s announcement came hours before D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared the city is tightening its pandemic policy, starting this Saturday, by requiring all people older than 2 to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.

Following a rise in cases attributed to the fast-spreading delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance earlier this week, recommending that people mask up at public, indoor spaces if they live in areas of substantial or high transmission.

At the time of publishing, the CDC included D.C. in the “substantial transmission” category, listing 410 cases in the past week. According to data the city shared today, an estimated 62.7 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, and only 0.05 percent of that population has been infected with a “breakthrough” case.