DENVER (CBS4)– Restaurants in the Bonanno Concepts group are the latest in Denver to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a subsequent decision requiring all workers to be vaccinated.
âIt’s definitely a positive tick when I go out to eat,â Megan Tice said as she and Dana Norder arrived at Mizuna for dinner Thursday night.
âI am very proud to be vaccinated so I love when restaurants do,â Norder added. “They’re really taking a stand, I appreciate that.”
âIt’s the commitment to the community,â said Jessica Kinney, implementation manager for restaurants. “We’re all sick of this, aren’t we?” We are all so tired. Every business has had its ups and downs, but restaurants have really taken it on the chin. “
There are nine restaurants plus the Milk Market at LoDo, which includes 16 concepts, all of which are part of the group. Legendary chef Frank Bonanno is very influential in the Denver dining community.
âWe feel ready and I also think the world is a bit more ready than it was a few months ago,â Kinney said. “It wasn’t a short process, it’s something we’ve been working on for a very long time.”
The group began by demanding that workers be vaccinated before August.
âThe hardest part has certainly been talking to our employees who are not vaccinated and working with them to find the right choice for them. “
Many, she said, had simply pushed him away. A difficult deadline had to be set.
âYou can’t start your shift, it’s the deadline. And they came out and got shot.
In the end, only seven of the company’s 400 or so workers chose not to be vaccinated. They helped them find another job.
âSeparated on good terms. They are welcome, they know it, we had farewell parties.
Then the company began to ensure that workers were trained to deal with the issues. For a month, they insisted on the masks, so that helped.
âWe did, you know what we call empathy training. How to deal with when people are upset and there are so many reasons why it is uncomfortable for some people.
On Thursday evening, client Mike McConnell came to Mizuna.
“I’m not vaccinated so that speaks for itself,” he said after learning he would not be admitted. “This is the first time this has actually happened to me.”
McConnell said he would take his things elsewhere.
âI think these places are going to lose a lot of business because of it,â he said.
But others looked for the restaurant.
âIt’s exciting to see Denver scale up, or at least Denver’s small businesses scale up and do their part,â Tice said.
“What we felt is that we have to do everything we can to end this as soon as possible,” Kinney explained.
She says not only customers have been looking for them, but also workers who want to feel protected from COVID-19 on the job.
âI think at the end of the day all of our staff are happy to do the right thing. And they tell us that every day.
Inside, people worked and dined without masks, happy to have the protection of the vaccine.
âIt’s proven, it’s over there. So this is our little corner of the world and we can do it here and I hope it will make a difference later. “
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