Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group will require indoor diners and drinkers in their restaurants to provide evidence that they have been vaccinated against Covid. The mandate also applies to existing employees and new hires.
The announcement Meyer made on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” comes as concerns over the rise in the highly contagious Delta variant, and US officials are trying to combat the reluctance and resistance of some Americans to take Covid vaccines.
“That’s the most logical thing I’ve ever seen,” said Meyer. “I’m not a scientist, but I know how to read data and I see this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated and as a business leader I feel strongly responsible for taking care of it.” our team and our guests, and that’s what we do. “
Meyer, founder of Shake Shack and chairman of the board of directors of the fast-casual chain, said the company will set its own guidelines regarding vaccines. “Shake Shack will make the right decision for you at the right time,” he said.
At Union Square Hospitality Group, the “vast majority” of workers have already been vaccinated, Meyer said, adding that the company offers eight hours of salary per Covid shot.
“We give our employees 45 days to make a choice, and hopefully that’s the incentive that really gets them to say, ‘You know what, now I’ll do it.'”
The Union Square Hospitality Group has a large presence in New York City and its restaurants include Gramercy Tavern, Manhatta, and Union Square Cafe. It also operates Anchovy Social in Washington, DC
Recently, a number of government and private agencies have taken a tougher stance on vaccination requirements for employees in recent days. Some believe vaccination rates are critical in the US, having slowed dramatically since they peaked in the spring.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 57% of the US population have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine and 49.3% are fully vaccinated.
Coronavirus cases have risen in the past few weeks, which has led the CDC to reverse their previous mask guide. The health department now recommends fully vaccinated Americans in places with high Covid infection rates to wear face coverings indoors again.
When asked how he would advise other corporate leaders on Covid vaccine policy, Meyer said, “I think every company has to make its own decisions and we are proud of the ones we are making right now.”
The restaurateur said he was lucky his company is based in New York City, where government leaders support stringent vaccine requirements. He noted that states like Florida have passed laws preventing corporations and government agencies from requiring proof of Covid vaccination.