Some Philadelphia restaurants will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to dine indoors

A handful of city restaurants announced the new policy in hopes of avoiding another COVID-related shutdown.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dining in Philadelphia is evolving yet again, and this time it involves proof of vaccination.

On Monday, restaurateur Marc Vetri announced starting September 7, his two Italian restaurants Vetri Cucina and Fiorella will require indoor diners to show proof of vaccination or have recovered from COVID-19.

A handful of other city restaurants announced a similar policy in hopes of avoiding another shutdown.

"I have no problem with it," said Lonni Sopinsky of Lafayette Hill. "If you're choosing to eat out at a restaurant, you should choose to follow their rules."

It's been almost two weeks since Martha Restaurant, in the city's Kensington section, first required all patrons who want to sit indoors, to show proof of vaccination. Those without the shot can sit outdoors.

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"So, many guests coming in have told us that they're coming in because of our policy and because of what we're doing," said General Manager Olivia Caceres. "We had one of our busiest weeks this week, which is kind of incredible because we weren't sure how this would be received."

But as more restaurants decide to follow suit, the jury is still out on whether customers are on board.

"I'm not too sure about this," said David Alexander Jenkins of Rittenhouse. "We live in America and so while I think it's entirely important that we are all vaccinated and we should do this, there is something about the freedom that it bothers the spirit a little bit."

"I am on board with all restaurants doing it but I don't think any business owners should be forced to do anything they don't want to do," said Lily Doern of Northern Liberties.

"I saw our staff feeling stressed. I was feeling stressed just with the volume of people coming in and coming in without masks and there haven't been any regulations coming from the city about what we should be doing," said Caceres.

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