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Tobacco Company now requiring proof of vaccination to dine

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 10:48 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2021 at 11:24 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If you are not vaccinated, cross the Tobacco Company off your list of places to eat. Tuesday, the Shockoe Bottom restaurant announced it will require all diners to be fully vaccinated.

The move comes just three days before its sold-out New Year’s celebration event. The restaurant’s manager, David Campbell, says the move comes in response to the surge of the Omicron variant.

“I think with the current surge, and just because we are the Tobacco Company, we just had to take that stand,” Cambell said. “We get hit hardest when these things hit.”

Campbell called the decision a bold move that required months of conversations with the restaurant’s owners.

While the Tobacco Company may be the most recognized restaurant to require proof of vaccination in Richmond, it is hardly the first.

Longoven on West Clay Street started requiring proof of vaccination back in July with the spread of the Delta Variant. Godfrey’s on East Grace Street first started requiring proof of vaccination in August and has since doubled down on those efforts in November around Thanksgiving.

Campbell says proof of vaccination has been a requirement for employees and vendors for months now. He believes this move is just the next step.

“I think it’s going to make another good dining experience because again if you feel comfortable that you know the person next to you has done what they need to do to feel safe, I think that’s what we need to be at.”

Since the announcement, Cambell says he’s already seen what he describes as a dramatic dip in reservations, but he believes that will change with time.

“Now that we’ve implemented it on social media, it’s on our website; it’s part of the reservation system, people are going to be able to understand what our policy is and not be caught off guard,” Campbell said.

Masks are also still required for entry. The restaurant says it will continue to monitor the CDC’s data and make updates to its policy accordingly.

“We just have to be what we are; don’t try to overdo it and do what you can do because we still want guests to have a great dining experience,” Campbell said.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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