Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack and Union Square Hospitality Group, is taking a hard line approach towards guests eating and drinking in their establishments. In-house guests will have to show proof of vaccination to get inside.
Meyer made the announcement on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday afternoon. According to the interview, the mandate will apply to their full service restaurants in New York and Washington D.C.
“We’re following the lead of city, state, and federal government, and we’re going to do this ourselves…. Our full service restaurants in New York City and Washington D.C. to require that all staff members be vaccinated, and also to require guests that want to dine indoors show proof they have been vaccinated.”
When pressed on whether there would be potential legal backlash from employees that don’t want to be forced to get vaccinated, or whether it will motivate employees to leave work, Meyer stated “If that’s the case, that would be sad. We really tried to lead with a carrot for many many months now. It’s been about 150 days that we’ve been truly encouraging people. A vast majority of the Union Square Hospitality Group have been vaccinated.
The Group has given employees 8 hours of paid time off to go receive the vaccination, as well has holding open vaccinations in the restaurants.
However, Meyer alluded to an unemployment ultimatum for the employees not vaccinated within the next 45 days – “We are going to give our employee 45 days. Hopefully this is the incentive [the dual vaccination requirement] to say, “Now I’m going to do it.”
Meyer also went on to say that a Covid-19 vaccination is inline with other hygienic restaurant precautions like gloves and hand washing.
Shake Shack has not made a similar sweeping employee and customer vaccine mandate. Union Square Hospitality Group does not have control of the burger franchise.
“The is the most logical thing I can think of,” Meyer added.
This mandate comes as Covid-19 Delta variants infections are on the rise, seemingly for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Union Square operates Anchovy Social, Blue Smoke, Caffe Marchio, Cedric’s At The Shed, Ci Saimo, Daily Provisions, Gramery Tavern, Intersect by Lexus, Loball, Mailino, Manhattan, Marta The Modern, and Porchlight, Tacocina, Union Square Cafe, and Vini E Fritti restaurants.
The vaccination mandate goes into effect starting September 7th, 2021.