Three women visiting New York City from Texas are facing charges related to an incident in which they allegedly attacked an Italian restaurant's hostess when they were asked to show proof of vaccination at the business.
The incident occurred at around 5 pm Thursday night at Carmine's long-standing restaurant located on Broadway Ave at 91st St. in Manhattan's Upper West Side. The situation turned physical the moment the three women were asked to show proof that they had had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, as per New York City's new "vaccine passport" rules, which went into effect on Monday.
The hostess, who had just started working at Carmine's several weeks ago, wound up being punched, slapped and having her neckless ripped off, according to the New York Police Department. The worker was left with bruises and scratches to her face and arms, authorities said. Two waiters were also reportedly hurt in the scuffle before being able to oust the unruly Texas trio.
The hostess had to be taken to the hospital after the attack, according to NBC New York. Police arrested 21-year-old Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 44-year-old Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, and 49-year-old Sally Rechelle Lewis.
The group has since been charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief, according to a Gothamist report. According to local outlet CBS 2 New York, the Lone Star State women were taken into custody, given a desk appearance ticket, and released. A court date for the three is set for Oct. 5.
Jeff Banks, the restaurant's owner said, "This turned into a mess. And from there, it's inexcusable, ridiculous," adding that he will now have to hire a security person to avoid similar problems in the future. "Our employee, thankfully, is safe right now. She’s extremely shook up," he added. "Two other people had minor issues."
Manhattan Borough president Gale Brewer called for harsher penalties agsainst the women, condemning the "completely unacceptable" attack. "Do not assault restaurant workers who are doing their job to keep us safe ... I can’t believe this happened here," she said. "We have to increase the fines, if that's what it takes."
The attack happened just days after an executive order went into full effect requiring places of business like restaurants and movie theaters to check for proof of vaccination before allowing potential customers indoors, or else risk a $1,000 fine. Similar "vaccine passports" are currently in effect in the cities of San Francisco, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, and other local jurisdictions such as Seattle are considering implementing similar measures in the near future.