Three tourists were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a Manhattan restaurant host after she requested proof of their vaccination status before seating them.NBC NEW YORK obtained video footage on Thursday evening of an intense brawl outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. Three tourists from Texas are accused of repeatedly punching the 22-year-old host after she requested proof of vaccination against COVID-19 prior to entering the restaurant, as required by local regulations.
According to NBC New York, the host was taken to the hospital following the attack. According to a Gothamist report, police arrested three women — Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, and Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49 — and charged them with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief. According to the outlet, they are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 5.
The attack occurred just days after an executive order went into effect requiring establishments such as restaurants and movie theaters to check for proof of vaccination before admitting customers, or face a $1,000 fine. According to The Associated Press, Los Angeles County is set to unveil similar rules for indoor bars and other recreational businesses next month.
A spokesperson for the restaurant told NBC New York that “it’s a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for performing their job — as required by city policies — and attempting to earn a living.”
The NYC Hospitality Alliance issued a statement in response to the attack, urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase penalties for those who assault restaurant employees and to raise awareness about the city’s vaccine requirements.
Violence directed at employees tasked with enforcing mask mandates and vaccination requirements has become a problem in the wake of the COVID-19 vaccine controversy and coronavirus safety protocols. In 2021, officials assessed more than a million dollars in fines for airline passenger misconduct, the Federal Aviation Administration reported last month. Many of those incidents involved unruly travelers assaulting or otherwise harassing airline employees enforcing the federal mask mandate.