World famous chef and humanitarian José Andrés‘ Washington, D.C.-area restaurants will require proof of vaccination for indoor dining. Washington City Paper reports that ThinkFoodGroup, the company behind Andres’ restaurants, is implementing the policy at six locations in the region. It’ll affect all indoor diners aged 12 and up.
“I’m proud that many small businesses have stepped up with smart decisions showing bigger guns the way,” Andrés told Washington City Paper. “Businesses shouldn’t be ‘creating’ health guidelines, but the early lack of leadership on the pandemic created many problems.”
“ThinkFoodGroup employees will also be required to be vaccinated, and the majority already are,” Washingtonian reports. “The ‘very small number’ who aren’t have until the end of August to start the vaccination process, ‘or face unpaid leave,’ a spokesperson says.” That report further said that “[i]n a very un-Andrés fashion, the chef and humanitarian hasn’t made much of a splash of the announcement beyond the City Paper story … Then again, he’s pretty busy sharing dispatches from World Central Kitchen’s relief efforts for wildfire victims in Greece and migrant families along the Texas border.”
A scan of World Central Kitchen’s Twitter feed shares images of the above humanitarian efforts, including thousands of hot meals served to vulnerable asylum-seekers and their families at the southern border. World Central Kitchen also shared images from the Colombia-Venezuela border, where volunteers are providing thousands of meals to refugees in the region. “Nobody wants to leave home … but Mothers like Bianca will do everything to protect & feed their family,” Andrés tweeted. “We must be there to support …”
Since 2018, the WCK Relief Team has been cooking hot, nourishing meals for migrants & refugees waiting at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Today in Tijuana, our team prepared pork with salsa verde, spinach & nopales, and a cabbage salad with cucumber 🥒 #ChefsForThePeople pic.twitter.com/5kfk8EdlRS
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) August 5, 2021
This is not the first (or second, or third) time that Andrés has stepped up for both his employees and the public during the pandemic.
In May, the chef announced he would be giving $50 gift cards for his D.C.-area restaurants to anyone showing proof of their vaccination, “until we reach 70% of total population” protected, he tweeted. Early in the pandemic, Andrés traveled to San Francisco to prepare meals for folks stranded on the coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship. I got a chance to volunteer for a few hours at the University of San Francisco kitchen, where one staffer said that people were so eager to help that someone had driven up from southern California to volunteer. Within the next months, Andrés would also turn his then-shuttered kitchens into to-go kitchens to feed the public, as well as launch an initiative that paid as many as 400 small restaurants to partially and safely reopen and prepare up to 1 million meals for families in need.
As the delta variant becomes a major worry in the nation, a number of localities are issuing policies requiring either partial or full vaccinations for certain indoor activities. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Thursday that the city will become the first in the nation to require proof of full vaccination “for a variety of indoor activities, including visiting bars restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues that serve food or beverages.”
“Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic. They're how we can live our lives together, safely,” Mayor London Breed tweeted.
Published with permission of Daily Kos.