A group of would-be restaurant patrons from Texas attacked a hostess at a New York City restaurant this week, flagship NBC affiliate WNBC-TV reported.
The Thursday evening incident occurred outside Carmine’s Italian Restaurant, a popular location in the Upper West Side. The restaurant told the television station that the hostess asked the customers about their COVID-19 vaccination status as they tried to enter the establishment.
Police told WNBC that three people were charged in the Thursday incident. The New York Times, citing the NYPD, identified two of the suspects as Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, and Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, of Humble, Texas. The third suspect was identified as Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, of Houston, the Times reported.
All three are reportedly charged with assault and criminal mischief, the Times indicated. They were given appearance tickets to return to court at a later date.
Citing the police, the Times said the attack broke the hostess’s necklace and and left the woman “bruised and scratched.”
The hostess lodged the vaccination status request pursuant to an executive order from Mayor Bill de Blasio which was issued Aug. 16. Fines connected with the executive order kicked in exactly four weeks later on Sept. 13 — this past Monday.
“[A] covered entity shall not permit a patron, full- or part-time employee, intern, volunteer, or contractor to enter a covered premises without displaying proof of vaccination and identification bearing the same identifying information as the proof of vaccination,” the executive order reads in part. A “covered premises” includes, among other things, the “indoor portions of food service establishments offering food and drink.” A “patron” is “any individual 12 years of age or older who patronizes, enters, attends an event, or purchases goods or services within a covered premise.” Certain patrons are exempted from displaying proof of vaccination; they include, e.g., people who run quickly into a facility to pick up a takeout order. Section nine of the EO (which took effect on Monday) says “any person or entity” who causes a violation “shall be subject to a fine, penalty and forfeiture of not less than $1,000.”
The full executive order is five pages long.
As such, the restaurant complied. The patrons allegedly didn’t. It all came to punches on Thursday.
“[T]empers flared and the hostess stand is nearly tipped over in the mayhem, with a waiter at one point helping carry someone away from the scene,” WNBC said. “Law enforcement sources said that the hostess was then repeatedly punched in the face and body, and sent to the hospital.”
A group representing the hospitality industry asked the city and the state to increase penalties for those who cause mayhem.
“Thankfully, the alleged assailants were apprehended at the scene of the crime,” the statement from the NYC Hospitality Alliance reads in part.
The Alliance and the Times both said the hostess is 24 years old; WNBC reported she is 22.
“Our goal is to serve our customers great food, offer excellent service and hospitality while keeping our employees and customers safe as we comply with the government mandated COVID-19 protocols,” said a Carmine’s Italian Restaurant spokesperson who was not identified by name in the statement. “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 family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness.”
“Assaulting a restaurant worker for doing their job is abhorrent and those responsible must be held accountable,” said NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie. “We’re calling on the City and State of New York to immediately increase penalties for assaulting restaurant workers in New. York City in conjunction with enforcement of Covid-19 protocols.”
See our statement in response to last night’s attack after asking tourists for proof of vaccination. 👇 pic.twitter.com/wGHNDL0PhC
— NYC Hospitality Alliance (@theNYCalliance) September 17, 2021
Watch the incident below via WNBC-TV:
[image via screengrab from WNBC-TV/YouTube]
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