Dining deals with masks and proof

by Walt Maguire
Posted 8/26/21

The new city mandates, coupled with the announcement that the FDA has given official approval to at least one vaccine, has meant a mix of new standards for safe dining.

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Dining deals with masks and proof

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The new city mandates, coupled with the announcement that the FDA has given official approval to at least one vaccine, has meant a mix of new standards for safe dining.

Some places are requiring proof of vaccination for inside seating. Others only require masks, but then the masks may be removed to eat or drink, so in effect customers are only masked while not seated at a table.

As proof of vaccination is increasingly easy to provide, it is increasingly becoming a factor in the calculation for businesses. For months there has been debate about how much protection face coverings and social distancing provide, but an FDA-approved vaccine removes another layer of uncertainty. From a business perspective, it also removes the need for more uncertain safeguards: if a customer is not wearing a mask, it’s now because they can prove they are not a threat to other diners and the staff.

A survey of some Chestnut Hill locations shows the variety of strategies: The Tavern on the Hill is requiring proof of vaccination. Campbells Place requires proof for inside dining, but not outside dining; the Tavern does not have outside seating.

McNally’s next door, requires mask inside when not eating, but no vaccination card. They only have six tables inside, and most patrons dine at the covered outdoor tables.

Similarly, Iron Hill Brewery has an inside mask policy, but as of yet no vaccination requirement. Their inside dining area is possibly the largest in Chestnut Hill, with a combination of social distancing and modern ventilation. The Chestnut Hill Hotel also requires masks indoors, though on their porch only the staff is masked.

The level of takeout ordering also makes a difference; masks are requested, but the short time it takes to pick up an order makes the vaccination proof seem too much. Cosimo’s Pizza does not have a mask requirement, though on a recent visit most people getting takeout were masked.

Staff is generally masked everywhere, even where customers are not required.

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