An Atlanta-area restaurant is making headlines over a new sign its owners posted warning potential customers: "No Vax, No Service."
What are the details?
Owners of the Argosy Restaurant and Bar, located in Atlanta's East Village, posted a sign outside of their restaurant last week advising potential customers they are not welcome inside if they are unvaccinated, WSB-TV reported.
"For the safety of our staff, guests, and community...No Vax, No Service," the sign reads.
The decision was made after three employees and co-owner Armando Celentano tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. All four were reportedly vaccinated against COVID-19, which would make them "breakthrough cases." Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show such cases are exceedingly rare.
"We think we were exposed at different times to unvaccinated people," Celentano claimed.
The positive tests forced the owners to shut their doors over the weekend, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, the owners said. "I can't afford to continue shutting down due to COVID infections," Celentano said.
So how will the restaurant enforce its new policy? Not proactively — at least for now.
From the Journal-Constitution:
Argosy employees will not check proof of vaccination at the door, in part because the restaurant doesn't have the staff to support such protocol. Instead, customers are asked to carry proof of vaccination — either the original copy or a digital version, such as a photo from a smartphone — and show it upon request. Vaccination is required whether customers are indoors or outside.
Celentano said the policy was "fluid" and could change. "If it becomes obvious that we have to start taking vaccination cards at the door, we will," he said. "We want people to have fun and walk around but not spread this thing to people and staff. … This is not, hopefully, a long-term policy. Hopefully, it is enough to get us through until we can develop herd immunity."
In his interview with the Journal-Constitution, Celentano acknowledged accusations of "virtue signaling," but said implementing the new policy is his "line in the sand" — and his right, after all.
"It's a privately owned, small business and I have to do what I think is right to protect the people who rely on me to make a living," he said.
Legal experts told WGCL-TV that Argosy's policy is legal.
Argosy Restaurant requiring vaccine for service www.youtube.com
How did customers react?
Customers were torn over the divisive new policy.
Sean Villalobos, a frequent Argosy customer told the Journal-Constitution, "It's your right as a business owner, but from a purely practical standpoint, there's no way you can verify who is vaccinated or not. From a business perspective, it doesn't make sense to potentially alienate people at a restaurant."
"I think it's a bunch of crap," David Carpenter told WSB. "It's everybody's choice, that's what I think."Customer Megan Mewbron, meanwhile, told WSB, "I personally don't have a problem with it because I'm fully vaccinated."