Caught on video: Texas woman attacked New York hostess after being asked for proof of vaccination

Police say a group of tourists from Texas attacked a hostess at a popular New York City...
Police say a group of tourists from Texas attacked a hostess at a popular New York City restaurant after they were asked to show proof of vaccination.(CBS2NewYork)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 11:53 AM CDT
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NEW YORK (CBS2NewYork) — Police say a group of tourists from Texas attacked a hostess at a popular New York City restaurant after they were asked to show proof of vaccination.

It happened Thursday evening at Carmine’s on the Upper West Side. Now, three women are facing charges.

As CBS2′s Natalie Duddridge reports, this is exactly what some restaurant owners feared when enforcement of the city’s vaccine mandate took effect Monday. Staff expected to face pushback and hostility from unvaccinated customers, but not a full blown assault like this.

Cellphone video shows several women involved in a scuffle that almost knocks over the hostess booth at Broadway and West 90th Street.

The NYPD said the 24-year-old hostess was punched, slapped and pushed after she asked the group for proof of vaccination, a new city policy to dine indoors.

“This turned into a mess. And from there, it’s inexcusable, it’s ridiculous,” Carmine’s owner Jeff Banks told Duddridge.

Carmine’s owner said the 24-year-old hostess just started working there weeks ago.

“Our employee, thankfully, is safe. Right now, she’s extremely shook up,” Banks said. “Two other people had minor issues.”

“I saw the scratches on her neck,” a chef added.

Two other people who stepped in to help were also hurt in the brawl.

“A physical fight with a person who is doing their job, it’s not OK,” one person in the neighborhood said.

“I’m into protecting yourself from somebody attacking you, but definitely not into violence,” said another person in the neighborhood.

Police said three women from Texas — a 49-year-old, 44-year-old and her 21-year-old daughter — were taken into custody, given desk appearance tickets and released.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer called on the city and state to implement harsher penalties.

“Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe… I can’t believe this happened here,” she said. “We have to increase the fines, if that’s what it takes.”

The New York City Hospitality Alliance issued a statement, which read in part:

“It’s a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job – as required by city policies – and trying to make a living. Our focus right now is caring for our employee and the rest of our restaurant family. We are a family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness.”

Banks said he has no problem with the mandate and prepared staff to deal with pushback, but never expected this.

“We ID for 21-year-olds all the time at the bar,” he said. “We’ve done training weeks before this talking about the enforcement.”

Now, he says he has no option but to pay for security to monitor the front entrance to keep his staff safe.

Restaurant owners who do not comply with the mandate can face fines starting at $1,000. The city offered training for restaurant workers on how to handle unruly customers, but many say they need more help.

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