SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The owner of a restaurant and bar said on Friday he suffered a strong backlash after announcing he would soon reopen to restaurant patrons with the requirement that they be fully vaccinated.
The Bayou, located at 645 South State Street, only offered take-out sidewalks since the restaurant interior closed in March 2020. The owners recently announced new rules for the May 12 reopening on their website, indicating that clients must show their vaccination. cards and have exceeded their final vaccination dose by two weeks before entering.
Owner Mark Alston said on Friday night he had received numerous angry calls – including many from outside the state who had never been to his establishment before.
In interactions recorded by Alston, angry callers described the owner as an “ungodly Communist,” who is “(expletive) ridiculous” for demanding vaccination cards.
“It is not an (explanatory) law,” said another interlocutor. “I will never feed this V-for-Vendetta type propaganda (expletive).”
Alston said he was actually a proud “capitalist” – the reason he went into business in the first place.
“If people don’t get things 100% their way, they get ballistic,” Alston said, shrugging.
Alston referred to CDC guidelines which state that masks are “recommended for employees and for customers as much as possible when not eating or drinking and when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
Alston said he found using a mask in a restaurant and bar like his to be impractical.
“Our only solution to keeping us all safe and following CDC guidelines is to make sure everyone is fully immunized,” Alston said. “We’re just checking to make sure everyone has been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and that they have two weeks after their second vaccination, and that’s it.
Alston has not been immune from the adverse economic effects of the pandemic. He said he lost $ 100,000 last year.
“We got PPP loans, but since we were mostly closed, we couldn’t use them,” Alston said. “I have to pay them back a little over $ 200,000, which I don’t have, so we have to find that.”
Alston hoped the backlash would wear off in time for his dining room to reopen and thanked those who gave him positive and encouraging feedback.
“The pandemic is so close to an end,” Alston said. “We’re almost there, guys. Let’s just finish.