NYPD: Texan Tourists Asked for Vax Proof Attacked Hostess

Three women were arrested for assault
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2021 11:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – New York City started enforcing its vaccine mandate for indoor dining this week—and the kind of incident restaurant owners had feared happened Thursday evening. Police say three Texan tourists attacked a hostess at an Upper West Side restaurant when they were asked for proof of vaccination to dine inside. Video provided to NBC shows the chaotic scene outside Carmine's Italian restaurant around 5pm. Police say the 22-year-old hostess, who had only been in the job for three weeks, was repeatedly punched and had her necklace ripped off before other staff members dragged the three women away from her, ABC7 reports.

The three tourists—identified as 49-year-old Sally Lewis, 44-year-old Kaeita Rankin, and her 21-year-old daughter Tyonnie Rankin—were charged with one count each of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief. The restaurant says two other employees were injured in the brawl. "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," a Carmine's spokesperson said, per Gothamist.

Alicart Restaurant Group CEO Jeffrey Bank says private security has been hired to stand at the hostess booth this weekend. He says the last 18 months have been "surreal" for the restaurant industry. "Everyone has done everything they can to keep our employees and our guests safe, and this is just yet another day, another chapter of crap we have to go through on a daily basis," Bank says. The New York City vaccine mandate, believed to be the strictest in the nation, also covers gyms and entertainment venues. Establishments that do not comply can be fined $1,000, CBS New York reports. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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