Balthazar may require proof of vaccination for indoor dining

Fashionable Soho brasserie Balthazar may start requiring indoor diners to show proof of vaccination, according to famed owner Keith McNally.

The move would bring the swanky French restaurant — which reopened in March after being closed for an entire year — in line with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which said Thursday it would require proof of vaccination for indoor diners at its New York and Washington, D.C., restaurants.

McNally, who was hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in London last year, referenced Meyer’s decision in a Thursday evening Instagram post.

“I’m afraid I agree with this,” McNally wrote alongside a screenshot of a headline about Union Square’s decision. “If it’s legal, I may do the same at Balthazar.”

McNally and Balthazar did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It’s unclear if the mandate would apply also apply to Balthazar’s London location or to McNally’s other New York restaurants Morandi, Pastis and Minetta Tavern.

The news comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday urged private businesses to “do their part” by refusing to serve unvaccinated guests and only employing vaccinated workers.

Balthazar owner Keith McNally
“Perhaps I’m wrong, but I believe this is the right thing to do,” Balthazar owner Keith McNally said.
Jennifer Gould

“I can argue it’s a good business practice,” Cuomo said. “Because I want to go to a safe restaurant. I want to go to a safe theater. I want to go to a safe bar.”

In the comments of his Instagram post, McNally responded to an anonymous critic who accused him of responding to “pressure to be woke.”

“I’m doing it because I believe, as the owner of a busy public space, that it’s my responsibility to do my bit,” the restauranteur said. “Perhaps I’m wrong, but I believe this is the right thing to do.”

During the lunch rush on Friday, one Balthazar hostess told a Post reporter that management hadn’t yet told her to check indoor diners for vaccine cards, but speculated, “I bet they will soon.”

Another hostess added that employees are not required to be vaccinated — a mandate that has been imposed by Danny Meyer’s Union Square group. However, she estimated that 90 percent of Balthazar workers have already been vaccinated.

Keith McNally
McNally has also used Instagram to call former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter a “fancy f–ker.”
Patrick McMullan

It’s not the first time the 70-year-old McNally has made news on Instagram.

In May, he ripped Graydon Carter as a “fancy f—ker” on Instagram and banned him from his New York restaurants after the former Vanity Fair editor made a reservation for 12 at Morandi and failed to show up.

He has also used the platform to bash Hachette Book Group for “censorship” of Woody Allen’s memoir, remind his followers that Jeffrey Epstein sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell is “currently innocent” and tell a seemingly random Instagram user that she looks like a “hooker.”

Balthazar
It’s unclear if the mandate would apply also apply to Balthazar’s London location or to McNally’s other New York restaurants Morandi, Pastis and Minetta Tavern.
Alamy Stock Photo