NYC Restaurant Bracing For 1/5 Of Staff To Resign Over City Vaccine Mandate

Photo: AFP

About 20 percent of the staff at a Times Square burger restaurant plan to quit if they are mandated to get the COVID-19 vaccine under new city rules, says the restaurant's owner.

Art Depole, who co-owns Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shake restaurant, tells Business Insider that about a third of his staff are still unvaccinated, and some in that group don't plan to get the shot at all.

New York City is now requiring food workers to provide proof that they've had at lease one COVID-19 shot. The mandate went into effect this month but will not be enforced until September 13.

Depole says a portion of his staff have indicated that they would rather find new work than get inoculated.

"The majority are willing to comply, but there is a significant number, maybe 20 to 25 percent, who are willing to leave this industry if they're forced to comply when the compliance is not required in other industries," he said.

The NYC mandate covers staff who work at gyms, restaurants and entertainment venues, but not retail workers. Many of Mooyah's employees have suggested that they will find retail work.

Depole adds that a few of his workers moved to Mooyah after previous employers introduced vaccine policies. Those same workers are threatening to quit if they're mandates to get the vaccine.

Natalie Anderson Liu, vice president of brand at Mooyah, told Business Insider that the chain, which has restaurants in 24 states, is worried that the vaccine mandates could expand beyond New York City and bring more staffing issues with it. She adds, however, that the company will follow whatever local governments require to keep coronavirus cases under control.

Hundreds gathered outside City Hall of Wednesday to protest the requirement that city teachers and school staff get at least one dose of the vaccine by September 27.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea came out this week in strong support of a vaccine mandate for police officers but said it should be up to local, state or federal government to make the rules.

“There’s just so much unnecessary loss [of life] in my opinion right now," Commissioner Shea said Tuesday. "We lost somebody last week that was an extremely healthy man that had at one point in his career not gotten sick for 17 years. Think about that. Never called in sick in 17 years and we lost him.”

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