Shake Shack founder and Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer will require all employees and guests dining inside the group’s New York and Washington, D.C., restaurants to provide proof they’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus as new U.S. cases begin to spike again, the restaurateur said Thursday, becoming the first major restaurant group to do so.
“We feel like we have an amazing responsibility to keep our staff members and our guests safe, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Meyer told CNBC’s Squawk Box Thursday.
He added he believes the vaccine requirement will make more people want to dine at his restaurants due to their commitment to safety instead of pushing potential customers away.
While the “vast majority” of Union Square Hospitality Group employees are already inoculated, Meyers said the small portion still unvaccinated will be given 45 days to make the decision to have the shots or not.
Meyers said the move may help attract employees who want to work in a safe environment, noting Union Square Hospitality Group is struggling with a staffing shortage along with the rest of the service industry.
Shake Shack, which Union Square Hospitality Group does not own or control, will not fall under the new mandate and has not announced any changes to employee policy.
Meyer’s famous restaurants include New York’s Gramercy Tavern, and Union Square Cafe and Washington, D.C.’s Anchovy Social, along with 15 others. An increasing number of bars and restaurants are now asking that customers show proof of vaccination as coronavirus cases pick up in some parts of the country. This week, the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance recommended that members check vaccination cards upon entry, and hundreds of bars opted in. The practice is already being mandated by the government in many European countries, like France and Italy, and was recently put into place in Israel after a surge of new infections.
Danny Meyer restaurants will require vaccine proof for diners and employees (The Washington Post)