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NYC’s Indoor Dining Vaccine Mandate Begins Today

Plus, two José Andrés restaurants finally reopen at Mercado Little Spain— and more intel

A man holds up a COVID vaccination card
Dining indoors in NYC will require proof of vaccination beginning August 16th.

NYC begins requiring proof of vaccination starting today to dine indoors

New York City led the way among large U.S. cities when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that public indoor venues — such as restaurants, bars, gyms, and performance and entertainment facilities — would require proof of vaccination. (San Francisco and New Orleans have since followed suit. ) While full enforcement won’t kick in until September 13, today is the first day of what the city has called the Key to NYC Pass mandate, which requires diners to show proof of at least one vaccination dose in order to eat indoors.

The move comes as the delta variant continues to spread throughout the country, and the battered hospitality industry figures out a way to recover from a year of shutdowns and countless regulatory changes. While the number of COVID-19 cases has surged in some parts of U.S., NYC officials chosen to focus on vaccination versus reinstating mask-wearing requirements like Los Angeles and San Francisco have in recent weeks.

While many NYC businesses have been in support of the mandate, some restaurateurs have expressed concerns over losing customers as well as fake vaccination cards with the proof-of-vaccination requirement.

In other news

— Steve Cuozzo’s latest New York Post report dubs the “floating fortress” that is Pier 17 at the Seaport District as the home of the city’s best new restaurants.

— Fort Greene’s popular German restaurant Black Forest hasn’t shared many details with Brownstoner, but the owners did confirm they’re opening a new restaurant next door at 737 Fulton Street.

— Eleven Williamsburg restaurants will take part in Grand Street’s Summer Restaurant Week promotion, which did not take place last year, from August 16 to 29.

— Two of José Andrés’ restaurants — Bar Celona and Leña — are reopening at his Hudson Yards food hall Mercado Little Spain after remaining shuttered for more than a year, according to a restaurant spokesperson.

— B&H, one of the city’s best brunch destinations, is going on summer break until August 24.

Somtum Der NY, which helped put a spotlight on regional Thai food beyond typical takeout fare, is celebrating its eighth anniversary with its entire somtum menu (papaya salad) priced at $8 per dish throughout August, a spokesperson for the East Village and Red Hook restaurant shares.

Short Stories is offering fully vaccinated customers that show proof of vaccination with a free shot of Don Papa 7 Rum this week.

— Popular Taiwanese chain TKK Fried Chicken — which is connected to Kung Fu Tea shops in Manhattan (115 East 23rd Street) and Flushing (136-20 38th Avenue) — will give away free churro sweet potato fries, a new menu item, with a large drink purchase August 16 to 23.

— Always here for more breakfast cake: