One Omaha Restaurant Requires Proof Of Vaccination From Diners
By Melissa Rosales, Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
Jan. 12, 2022, 5:42 p.m. ·
Listen To This Story
The recent surge of COVID-19 cases has caused one Omaha restaurant to make a change.
Vegan restaurant Modern Love recently reopened with limited seating, but restaurant owner Isa Moskowitz announced Tuesday only fully vaccinated guests can dine in. Those who are unvaccinated can order take out. She said the staff felt safer if everybody in the restaurant was vaccinated. There’s also a high number of COVID-19 cases and diners can’t eat with a mask on.
"We're trying to keep our staff safe. We're trying to keep the community safe," she said. "This is my belief, and this is the staff’s belief, my management's beliefs, and if you don't agree, totally get it."
Chicago requires proof of vaccination at all restaurants and Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota just announced they will require that or a negative test starting next week. Moskowitz received mostly negative reactions on social media from her announcement.
"I hope that this doesn't cause a lot of conflicts at the restaurant to the point where it's hard to function and instead of feeding people, you're out the door arguing with somebody," she said. "That was the number one reason that we hadn't done it sooner."
She said if the decision doesn’t work out, the restaurant will only do delivery until the COVID-19 surge passes. Modern Love restaurant is not a member of the Nebraska Hospitality Association. Executive Director Zoe Olson said they don’t get involved in how business owners make decisions to take care of their staff. However, she’s concerned there will be a return of guests taking their personal beliefs out on staff as the pandemic escalates.
"There should be space for grace for everybody.. and you're allowed to make your own choices," she said. "And, if your choice is to not dine somewhere who says I need proof of vaccination, that's your choice, just as it's their choice to say, we require proof of vaccination."
Olson said with extreme staff shortages in the restaurant industry, employees who have shown up are tired. She asks guests to treat them with kindness and patience.
Get the latest from around Nebraska delivered to your inbox