NYC Restaurant Workers Can Now Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Gov. Cuomo just expanded vaccine eligibility to include restaurant employees.

boqueria indoor dining
Courtesy of Boqueria

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would allow New York City officials to begin vaccinating restaurant workers, less than two weeks before indoor dining resumes citywide.

“I’m leaving it up to local governments to make sure what fits their situation best,” Cuomo said in a press conference, acknowledging that each city has a different vaccine distribution plan and set of priorities.

Talking specifically about NYC, he added, "I don’t know if Mayor de Blasio will want to vaccinate taxi drivers or restaurant workers first but that’s a local determination for the local health department to make."

Fortunately, Mayor de Blasio was already on board. Shortly before the governor's press conference, he called for the state to make restaurant workers eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine considering the added transmission risk that comes with indoor dining.

“Restaurant workers now are going to be in enclosed places with people eating and drinking,” de Blasio said. “We have to protect the people who work in our restaurants. So now that the state has made [the decision to resume indoor dining], it follows that we have to protect those workers and they should be added to the 1b category.”

NYC quickly updated its website to include restaurant workers—including delivery people—in the current Phase 1b group. By providing the additional vaccines to frontline workers in the hospitality industry, indoor dining will presumably become safer for both employees and customers.

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.