Cheesecake Factory Responds to Protest by Anti-Vaccine Diners at NYC Restaurant
(Bloomberg) -- Cheesecake Factory Inc. says it was just following local rules when police were summoned after a group of people who say they weren't vaccinated refused to leave its New York City restaurant.
It may face another standoff Wednesday, as organizers of the Dec. 14 protest say on social media that they plan to return to the Queens location.
New York currently requires people to have received at least one dose for eating inside restaurants, and it's ramping up those requirements at the end of the month following a post-Thanksgiving rise in Covid-19 cases. Vaccine rules for indoor dining, entertainment and fitness will soon permit access only for those 12 and older who are fully vaccinated.
“This was an unfortunate incident," Alethea Rowe, senior director of public relations for Cheesecake Factory said in a statement about the Dec. 14 event. "The company is simply complying with the local ordinance concerning Covid-19 vaccine requirements.”
“We would like to thank our restaurant managers and staff for remaining focused on providing our guests with delicious, memorable food, and would like to thank local law enforcement for their support during this time,” the representative said.
Sit-down restaurants have been particularly hard hit by the ongoing pandemic over the past 20 months with on-and-off dining restrictions. Cheesecake Factory, which has about 300 locations across the U.S. and Canada, has been trying to expand with its Flower Child and North Italia brands. But like others in the industry, it's facing higher ingredient costs, and elevated wage expenses.
Calabasas Hills, California-based Cheesecake Factory opened its Queens restaurant in 2016, its first New York City location.
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