El Merkury Central American Street Food recently launched its second location inside the Reading Terminal Market, and from the jump, the owner and the majority of the staff are making it clear they've been fully vaccinated.
Many of them are now wearing blue bracelets known as the ImmunaBand. The silicone bracelet signifies a worker's been fully vaccinated through a system where they provide proof of their immunization.
"It was really important for me to have everybody be vaccinated, to have everyone come back to work and feel safe, and for customers to know this is more of customer-facing, that people know it's safe to eat from us," said Sofia DeLeon, owner of El Merkury.
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DeLeon found out about ImmunaBand through one of its creators who is a Wharton graduate. The cost is $19.99.
"Especially being at the Reading Terminal surrounded by so many people and being in close contact with our staff, I just had to do it," said assistant manager Natalie Rangel.
Patrons like Keshia Nedd are excited about what they see as an extra layer of comfort.
And while the owner hopes it also encourages more people to get vaccinated, some don't believe ImmunaBand will be helpful when the CDC encourages people who have been vaccinated to take precautions.
"I don't think it's necessary. I think vaccinated people should maintain the precautions. Like they say, you can take off your mask outside, but I still wear my mask because you just don't know," Phyllis Hopewell said.
ImmunaBand said in a statement regarding privacy that "personal information is not shared, and we haven't heard any pushback to date."
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