A trio of tourists visiting New York City from Texas reportedly attacked a hostess at a well-known restaurant after they were asked to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to dine inside.
Cell phone video obtained by WNBC-TV appears to show the group of individuals — all three of them women — assaulting a Carmine's employee at around 5 p.m. Thursday evening.
In the video, the assailants can be seen punching and slapping the restaurant employee in the face and body and nearly tipping over the hostess stand. One of the women allegedly ripped a necklace off the hostess' neck.
According to the outlet, tempers flared after the hostess, who has not been identified, questioned the legitimacy of the women's vaccination documents. Proof of vaccination to dine inside is now required under the city's new health mandate, which prohibits unvaccinated individuals from gathering indoors for any public activity.
Caught on Camera: NYC Hostess Attacked Over Vaccine Mandate by Texas Tourists www.youtube.com
Eventually, other employees at the restaurant came to break up the fight. In the video, one can be seen carrying one of the attackers away from the scuffle.
The hostess reportedly suffered pain and bruising after the attack but refused medical treatment, the New York Post reported.
"She's extremely shook up," noted Carmine's owner, Jeffrey Bank. "It's inexcusable, ridiculous."
According to the New York Daily News, the tourists — Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, and Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49 — were given desk appearance tickets for assault, then released.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Carmine's said, "It's a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job — as required by city policies — and trying to make a living."
The restaurant now plans to post a security guard near the building entrance.
"My employees are freaked out," Bank added. "It's not fair."
The NYC Hospitality Alliance responded to the news by asking for tougher penalties against those who assault restaurant employees, given the increased risk placed on them by the new health mandate.
"We're calling on the city and state of New York to immediately increase penalties for assaulting restaurant workers in New York City in conjunction with enforcement of COVID-19 protocols," the group said.