“It’s time to make sure that this economy continues to move forward,” said Danny Meyer, head of the Union Square Hospitality Group, on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Meyer’s Enlightened Hospitality Investment firm is leading a funding round of $100 million for Clear, a platform used in airports that aims to expand to restaurants and hotels with its new digital health passport, Fox Business reported in February.
“We’re following the lead of both city, state and federal government, and we’re going to do this ourselves in our restaurants in New York City and Washington D.C., to require that all staff members be vaccinated and guests that want to dine indoors show proof that they’ve been vaccinated,” he said July 29 on CNBC. “We feel that we have an amazing responsibility to keep our staff members and guests safe and that’s what we are going to do.”
Meyer was appointed chairman of the board of the New York Economic Development Corporation by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and sworn in on April 28, 2021.
Mayers’ comments put him in the middle of one of the thorniest debates in the U.S. right now: how to reopen the economy safely while many communities across the country are seeing an increase in new cases of covid-19, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
The U.S. has seen a rise in breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, hospitalizations among the unvaccinated, and fears that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) may have acted too fast in May when it eased up on its mask and social distancing recommendations.
A growing number of restaurants and bars are turning away unvaccinated customers, saying it is a risk to customers and the staff.
No-vaccine, no-service rules have stirred controversy with anti-vaxx groups and individuals saying it is a violation of civil rights.
Mayer said he believed that stricter covid requirements will make more people want to dine at Shake Shack.
The “vast majority of people who dine with us especially indoors do not want to see us go back where we had no opportunity to serve people indoors,” he said, adding that most of his staff was are already vaccinated. The rest will have 45 days to make a decision.
Some states such as Florida and Texas have imposed rules that restrict private businesses from imposing such bans on the unvaccinated.
Bars and restaurants putting vaccine requirements in place range from individually owned businesses to chains.
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