Kalaya Thai Kitchen in South Philly asks diners for proof of vaccination

Over the weekend, a handful of restaurants in Philly joined in a growing movement in the restaurant industry across America by instituting policies that require diners to provide proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 before eating inside. The list in Philly currently includes Martha, Musi BYOB, Irwin’s Upstairs, The Virtù, Sally and Cornerstone Bistro in Wayne. more flexible guidelines. “It’s an honor policy,” chef and owner Nok Suntaranon told Eater.

Kalaya’s policies will differ vaguely with the number of restaurants requiring proof of vaccination, where diners are asked to present a physical card, photo, or vaccination passport to eat inside. In Kalaya, Suntaranon tells Eater that they will now “politely ask” that unvaccinated diners make the right choice as to where to eat while on the restaurant premises. When diners make a reservation or when they arrive at Kalaya on South 9th Street, Suntaranon asks unvaccinated people to take the initiative to request seats outside rather than inside.

Suntaranon says she is not officially asking for proof of vaccination because she believes it is the job of the city government to issue a warrant – an act that would ease the pressure restaurants are feeling to take the shot themselves. difficult decision, mostly with the real threat of customer reaction. “The middle ground and the most practical way to approach this will is for it to come from people in power, who issue the directives,” Suntaranon said. “If you can tell us to close our dining room overnight, you can issue a rule or regulation that might prevent us from closing our dining rooms again. “

While Kalaya will operate under a ‘policy of confidence’ around vaccinations until further notice, just over a week ago Kalaya staff and guests resumed wearing face masks. indoor, which is a way for Suntaranon to ensure the safety of its employees. All Kalaya staff are currently vaccinated, but fearing that they may not still get sick revolutionary cases of COVID-19 delta variant, “This is how I can protect my staff,” says Suntaranon. “When my staff comes to talk to you, you put on your mask. »Customers will be encouraged to wear a mask in the restaurant, with the sole exception of when they eat or drink.

The past 17 months have been a “utter disappointment” on the part of the city’s leaders, according to Suntaranon, and this has led to restaurants facing customers angry at independently instituted policies. “We cannot do it alone. The city must help us, ”she said. “They hung us up in the dry, with no help, no clear directions, nothing. This is the time when they can prove they care. Then we can comply.

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