Two Bridgehampton restaurants have become the first on the South Fork to require proof of vaccination — as most New York City restaurants have done since early summer.
Pierre’s and Almond, which sit directly across from one another on Montauk Highway at the eastern end of downtown Bridgehampton, are both requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination for dining inside their restaurants.
The owner of both restaurants said that their regular customers have mostly embraced the practice.
“Our customers, 99 percent are very positive about it because it makes them feel more secure,” Pierre Weber, owner of Pierre’s, said recently. “I”m not a doctor, I’m not an expert, I’m just a guy who serves food and I have to help my customers not fear coming to dinner so they can enjoy themselves. Your freedom stops where theirs starts, and for them that is their health.”
Eric Lemonides, co-owner of Almond, said that he had to turn away more than a dozen tables on a recent Saturday night, because some or all of the members of the party did not have proof of vaccination.
“We started it in the beginning of August — you have to do it in the city and we felt it was what was best for our customers here, too,” Mr. Lemonides, who also co-owns Almond restaurants in Manhattan and Palm Beach with chef Jason Weiner, said. “Are some people annoyed by it? Sure. Such is life. Hopefully we’ll get to a place someday, I don’t know when, where none of this will be necessary.”
Many New York City restaurants began requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining early in the summer when the city announced it would be mandating the requirement starting in September.
Mr. Weber said he spoke to renowned chef Eric Ripert of the celebrated restaurant Le Bernadin who told him that the vaccine requirement in the city has been a hurdle but one that has not been crippling for restaurants.
“I asked him, how do you do it and he said, first of all everyone knows so they expect it, and second they tell everyone when they make reservations that it is required,” Mr. Weber recalled. “Third, they can stay home. That’s the choice.”