NEW YORK (AP) — A host at a popular New York City restaurant was assaulted by three women from Texas after she asked for proof they had been vaccinated against COVID-19, police said.
The three women punched the host at Carmine's on the Upper West Side repeatedly and broke her necklace Thursday afternoon after she asked for proof of vaccination, which is required to dine inside at a restaurant in New York City, police said in a news release.
The attack left the 24-year-old victim bruised and scratched, police said. Restaurant owner Jeffrey Bank said the employee was taken to a hospital for treatment and was doing well Friday but was “extremely shook up.”
The three women — two of them from Humble, Texas, and one from Houston — were arrested on charges of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief, authorities said. They were given desk appearance tickets and ordered to appear in court Oct. 5.
New York City's rule requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues has been in effect since Aug. 17 but is only being enforced as of this week.
No fines for failing to check vaccination status have been issued yet, Mitch Schwartz, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Friday.
Schwartz said the city has conducted 5,440 total inspections of restaurants and other businesses affected by the mandate and given out 2,176 warnings. No fines are being issued based on an initial inspection, but there will be a $1,000 fine for the next violation, Schwartz said.
Carmine's, which has two locations in New York City as well as outposts in spots including Las Vegas, is known for large servings of pasta and other Italian dishes.
Bank, the CEO of the restaurant group of which Carmine's is a part, said the host who was assaulted had offered the women a seat outdoors after they did not produce satisfactory proof of vaccination.
“We follow the laws,” Banks said at a news conference outside the restaurant. “I respect the vaccine mandate. We have an option, if you’re not vaccinated, sit outside.”
He said Thursday's altercation started with a verbal dispute and escalated quickly.
“It’s ridiculous that she’s sitting here saying, ‘Please don’t assault me.’ It’s just surreal,” Bank said.
He said there would be security at the restaurant's host stand Friday.
“Of course we’re going to have security tonight,” Bank said. “We want everyone to feel safe. Is it necessary? I don’t know, but after last night for sure we’re going to have it.”