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Texas Tourists Arrested After Altercation With NYC Restaurant Hostess Over Proof Of Vaccination

Texas Tourists Arrested After Altercation With NYC Restaurant Hostess Over Proof Of Vaccination
NBC New York/YouTube

There have been many incidents of anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers resorting to violence when asked to abide by health guidelines for the safety of others when out in public.

This time, a video showing a violent altercation outside a popular Italian restaurant in New York's Upper West Side is being considered as possibly the first assault in direct response to the city's proof of vaccination mandate.

The city's "Key to NYC Pass" mandate initiated last Tuesday applies to both employees and customers.

The city's executive order requires patrons to show proof of at least one dose of the COVID vaccine to be allowed inside most indoor facilities, including restaurants, theaters and gyms.

The physical altercation happened on Thursday after a hostess working at Carmine's restaurant allegedly asked a group visiting from Texas to show proof of vaccination in order to dine inside the establishment.

Initial reports of the incident said the three female tourists involved assaulted the hostess and did not show their vaccination proof.

But new details emerged on Saturday.

According to the New York Times, the three women did in fact show their vaccination cards and were allowed inside.

The news outlet added the group was then joined by three men—one of whom showed proof of vaccination—and the fight broke out when the group left the restaurant, not when entering as previously reported.

Here is a clip of NBC's initial news report.

WARNING: violent assault

A lawyer for one of the women told the outlet the hostess used racial slurs, which led to the "mutual combat" situation.

However, the attorney representing Carmine's refuted the claims of the hostess acting violently and using any derogatory language.

Initial reports said the suspects repeatedly slapped and punched the unnamed hostess in the face and body and ripped off her necklace.

The hostess was taken to the hospital as a result of her injuries, according to police.

The two staff members who intervened to break up the altercation suffered minor injuries.

The three female assailants, whose ages are 21, 44 and 49, were taken into custody at NYPD's nearby 24th precinct station house, given a desk appearance ticket and released.

The three women are expected to appear in court at a scheduled date next month.

Based on early reactions to the incident, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said there needed to be tougher penalties for such unruly conduct.

"Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe," she said.

"I can't believe this happened here. We have to increase the fines, if that's what it takes."

On Friday, many Twitter users gave a collective eye roll over the scuffle.

Customer Sophia Burnal of Albuquerque, New Mexico, told CBS Local:

"We think that's a great policy to protect the servers and the people who have to work and deal with that."
"I think it's great they require proof of vaccination and I think it's appalling they assaulted someone because they required proof."

Marcia Todd, who also happened to be dining with her family inside the restaurant when the fight broke out, told NBC New York:

"Businesses have a role and the citizens have a role so I think we all have to be responsible and play our part."

The Lone Star State continued to get a bad rap.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance issued a statement, which read in part:

"It's a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job—as required by city policies—and trying to make a living."
"Our focus right now is caring for our employee and the rest of our restaurant family. We are a family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness."

Carmine's owner Jeff Banks said of the hostess, who just started working there a few weeks ago:

"Our employee, thankfully, is safe right now. She's extremely shook up. Two other people had minor issues."

Banks said he has no other option than to pay for security to man the front entrance to the restaurant in order to keep his staff safe from similar assaults in the future.