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Karol Markowicz: The Carmine’s COVID altercation was preventable but I predict we’ll see more of this

If you haven’t had the baked ziti at Carmine’s, you should. It’s a red sauce New York institution and they make their pastas the way a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the 1990s can appreciate. It’s not fancy. It’s not avant garde. They’re not going to serve you deconstructed ravioli. Carmine’s exists to give you what you expect. 

Like restaurants across the city, Carmine’s is now put in charge of checking the medical history of people who wish to dine inside their restaurant. 

To eat inside a restaurant in New York, a diner has to present their vaccination card and an accompanying identification. Last week, a hostess had to deny service to unvaccinated patrons and violence ensued.  

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Three women visiting New York from Texas had an alleged altercation with the hostess because she would not seat some of their friends who were unable to present a vaccination card. The women were arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief.

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They deserve what they get. 

But what occurred was extremely predictable and preventable. And it will happen again. Obviously a hostess at a restaurant should not have to require personal medical information for a visitor. 

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On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy whether the migrants crossing our border are required to show their vaccination card to enter the way visitors arriving legally are required to do.

Her response was that vaccination proof was not necessary for them since “They’re not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time. It’s not the same thing.” 

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Well, no one is staying at Carmine’s after all the ziti is eaten either. 

Also on Monday, Black Lives Matters protesters descended on Carmine’s to protest what they say was discrimination by the restaurant. 

In a city that was inflamed by protests over inequity and racism in the summer of 2020, it’s amazing that so little conversation ensued over the obvious bias of this vaccine mandate. As of today, only 38% of Black New Yorkers are vaccinated. 

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The fact that over 60% of the Black community in New York City can’t eat inside Carmine’s is, of course, discrimination. But it’s not discrimination by Carmine’s. It was forced on them by an out-to-lunch Mayor Bill de Blasio and a complacent city that does not question directives that make no sense. 

Restaurants were never a major spreader of COVID. And if you’re vaccinated, why do you care if others are not?

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When a state wants to require identification to vote, that state gets a barrage of abuse from the left. The state is labeled as racist. Activists pressure corporations to stop doing business in the state. Hollywood threatens to pull production. 

But that same identification, coupled with private medical information, being required to dine inside a restaurant brings silence. Speaking out might get you labeled a racist yourself or, worse, a Republican. 

People can’t say what they know to be true, that requiring restaurants to demand vaccination proof should not be their role, that altercations will inevitably continue to happen, and that we’re a worse city for it. But it’s quiet. It’s the age of conformity on the left and no one wants to step outside the line. 

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Karol Markowicz is a columnist at the New York Post. She has also written for Time, USA Today, The Observer, Heat Street, Federalist, Daily Beast and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @Karol.

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