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CT restaurants say proof of vaccination is the opposite of hospitality

Some theater venues are requiring vaccination to see a performance

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Making a restaurant reservation? What if instead of your name, you also had to give proof you were vaccinated? More and more businesses are implementing their own restrictive policies. 

Restaurants already ask you to show your ID to verify that you are old enough to drink. They are required to by state law. With no law about vaccines, restaurateurs told me policing people’s personal medical records would be the opposite of hospitality.

Hospitals, colleges, and Broadway shows are just some of the places that are now requiring proof of vaccination. 

Paul Villanueva of Coventry said, "The government, the state. They already have a stranglehold on what we are doing every second of every day and this is just going to be another thing."

Could restaurants be next? 

"Where in the service industry. The last thing we want is to try and tell people what they should or shouldn’t do," said Scott Dolch of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

Dave Rutigliano is the owner of the SBC Restaurant Group. He’s also a state representative. He said, "I don’t think it’s the right position to put my employees and staff in to check people’s medical records."

Back in April, a program called ‘Drinks on Us,’ gave free a drink to anyone who showed their vaccination card at a participating restaurant. 

Rutigliano said, "We participated because listen we are here to help. But I didn’t have any of my people ask for anybody’s record. If somebody said I’m here for the vaccination drink, we just have them a free drink and called it a day."

So, we asked customers, would you feel more comfortable in a restaurant knowing the people around you were vaccinated? 

Justin Scalise of West Hartford said, "I think it would add some extra comfort knowing that everyone in there was." 

Villanueva said, "Part of it is freedom. Just choosing whether I want to do it or not."

Gov. Lamont, who had the option to follow New York by implementing a COVID vaccine passport system, told FOX61 he doesn’t regret not doing it. 

"It was really polarizing. Everybody was getting jumpy about it," said Gov. Lamont. 

At least one Connecticut business is opting to require vaccination. 

"I think it’s a personal choice and if you make that personal choice. You’ve made a personal choice not to see a play at our theater," said Michael Barker, the Managing Director of the Westport Country Playhouse.

The theater is requiring masks and proof of vaccination in order to see a performance. 

"The pushback we got wasn’t why can’t I come, I’m unvaccinated. The pushback was why are you letting unvaccinated people in the space. We’ve all done our part," said Barker.

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