NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — BAR New Haven started requiring proof of a COVID vaccine or a negative COVID test result dated within 72 hours from all guests Friday.
People News 8 spoke with Friday night appreciated the restaurant’s concern for its patrons.
“It shows me that you’re strong enough to protect the citizens that are going in there,” said Alonah Scott of Stratford. “So, you have a standpoint where you want to protect everyone, but you recognize that you can’t protect all your patrons that enter the shop.”
“I see getting vaccinated and being cautious as caring about someone more than yourself and caring about the state of our country,” said Yale student Julia Grobman.
BAR has a night club in the back, and owner Frank Patrick told News 8 the following in a statement:
“…The dance club is a major part of the bar experience that puts us in a unique position. While we are proud to provide an important social outlet for our city, especially after an extended time of isolation, we understand the nature of the club entails close dancing. We have a responsibility to make the experience as safe as possible with information we have during these times.”
You, of course, can still pick up a take-out order at BAR without having to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
As you can imagine, the new policy is getting a lot of attention. Patrick spoke with News 8 earlier this week on Tuesday.
Patrick said he has unique safety concerns to think about to ensure the safety of his customers and staff. Since announcing the policy, social media reaction has been non-stop.
Much of it is positive. Liz Ann wrote, “Thanks for caring about your staff and customers.”
But Facebook user Michael Joseph posted, “You lost me as a customer…”
New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond applauded Patrick’s move: “This is an example of an exemplary leader who is a business owner in the private sector and wants to make sure he’s protecting his patrons as well as his workforce so we can stay open.”
Dir. Bond knows this is tricky territory; bars and clubs have to enforce the city’s indoor mask mandate while they sell the experience of dancing, socializing, and inherent close contact.
“If during our contract tracing efforts there’s an issue around that… we’d have to revisit if cases are stemming around a specific sector,” she said.
Over in Westport, the Westport Country Playhouse was one of the first venues in the state to take the lead in requiring proof of vaccination from guests.
“We would like for this to be a decision we don’t have to make. We’d like to get back to making theater,” Managing Director Michael Barker said.
He says the response from their audiences has been overwhelmingly positive. He hopes vaccination rates continue to rise so businesses can get back to providing services they love.
“As long as you’re prioritizing the safety of your clientele, that’s the best we can do in all of this,” Barker added.