Utah bar to require proof of COVID-19 vaccine for dinner


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SALT LAKE CITY – A Salt Lake City bar is bombarded with angry phone calls because the bar is going to demand that customers be vaccinated to enter the door.

While angry callers claim it is against the law, HIPAA and the constitution, the owners of the Bayou have said it is legal and that they are doing it to keep people safe.

After more than a year with the front door closed, the interior empty and the curbside collection only, the Bayou is ready to reopen and welcome its customers again.

On Thursday, Mark Alston answered the phone at Bayou, taking take out orders. A woman called to say she was outside and ready to pick up her order.

“Yes, I have it right here,” he said, lifting up a green plastic bag filled with a few containers. He put the bag on an outside table for the customer to grab. This is how Alston and his wife Kileen Alston have been serving people since March 2020.

But in less than a week, Le Bayou will once again allow customers to sit at its tables.

Sitting in front of a computer parked at the bar, Alston retrieved the Facebook messages they received in support of the announcement of the reopening.

“I look forward!” He said reading a message. He clicked on another and continued reading. “‘Excitement! Yes!'” Things like that. ‘I arrive!'”

Others called the Bayou. Alston answered the phone, wondering if it was a takeout order.

This was not the case.

“Damn it guys, then. This is ridiculous.” a woman said to Alston. “We will miss you, I guess you–” Alston began to reply, before the woman interrupted him with, “This is ridiculous.”

Alston then said, “I guess you’ve been a customer for a while, and we’re really going to miss your…” The woman continued, “Yeah, yeah. I bet you are. Me and hundreds of people. other people. You have no right to demand that. This is America. It is disgusting. “

The woman was one of dozens to call the Bayou since their announcement on Wednesday, to say they are disgusted that the Bayou announced that customers must show a COVID-19 vaccination card in addition to a coin. identity to enter. Alston explained that people can show off a physique. card or photo of one.

He said it wasn’t a health decision he wanted to make, but with terms expiring and vaccinations on the rise, Alston explained he felt it was a necessary decision.

“It is our requirement to keep everyone safe, because we have to make these decisions,” he said.

Because people cannot wear masks while eating and drinking, Alston explained how he believes it is impossible to keep people safe in his bar. He is concerned for his safety and that of his wife, staff and customers.

One of the musicians who played at the Bayou before it closed in March 2020 contracted COVID-19 last summer and died, Alston said. Alston described how the loss of the pianist was completely preventable.

He wants to make sure everyone in his restaurant is protected from COVID-19 if they aren’t wearing masks.

“We are following the guidelines of the CDC,” he said. “It’s absolutely clear. When you’re fully vaccinated, hang out with other people who are fully vaccinated without your mask, eat / drink – you’re fine. If you’re hanging out with people who aren’t fully vaccinated. vaccinated, keep the mask on. “

He said most of his repeat customers supported his decision, writing to express that they were on board.

But that hasn’t stopped people whom Alston strongly suspects of never having eaten or heard of Bayou, from calling to ring the bell. People have also written negative fake reviews on Yelp, he said.

“We have been called communists, we have been compared to running an Auschwitz camp in Nazi Germany,” he said.

A woman called out, growing louder and angry as she spoke.

“This goes against the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America!” she exclaimed. “Hmmm,” Alston replied, listening.

She told Alston she called the health department and claimed they told her it was against HIPAA laws. She also said people would “take signatures” against her business.

“This is not a f *** ing law. I will never feed this propaganda, type V bullshit for Vendetta **,” she said. “V for Vendetta?” Alston asked. “Take the paperwork out of your eyes, sir,” she continued. “The paperwork? What is the paperwork?” Alston asked. “Red tape means propaganda, sir. Wake up. Hope your business comes back after this.

Alston attempted to explain at one point that he was not violating any HIPAA laws and was legally allowed to ask to see the vaccination card because it is not considered medical information.

“It’s disgusting to have to ask a citizen of the United States of America to show you a slice of paper so they can have dinner at your restaurant,” the caller said. “Don’t you think it’s in favor of segregation and discrimination ?!”

The woman then said that Alston discriminated against her and that it was an equality law. She finally hangs up on him after several minutes of conversation.

The Salt Lake County Health Department confirmed to Fox 13 on Thursday that it had not received any complaints about the Bayou, contrary to what the appellant claimed. They also said it was outside their field and that they did not advise companies on what to do or not to do with vaccination cards.

According to the CDC, HIPAA laws only apply to healthcare-related organizations, and the laws are aimed at preventing the sharing of patient information without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

It is also important to note that the Fourth Amendment concerns search and seizure by law enforcement.

Alston sat down at his computer.

“Ahhhhhh!” he sighed, rubbing his face. “I think when I was doing research just to make sure we weren’t going to break the laws – which we aren’t. You’re trying to find something, all the legal pages and all the information is like, the companies can do this but no one has. “

To his knowledge, Alston said he was the first company to demand something like this. But according to all his research, he is able to ask for proof of the card.

For anyone not vaccinated, Alston will always offer the sidewalk. He also said he understands that some people cannot get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, and he is providing accommodation for these people.

For The Bayou, this is how they want to get back to normal. Alston has said he won’t need masks or social distancing at his bar and restaurant.

It’s just this vaccination record he wants to see.

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