On Saturday, July 31, Kensington’s favorite hoagie and pickled veg destination Martha announced on Instagram that it would be requiring guests to provide proof of vaccination in order to enter the bar. Shortly thereafter, Irwin’s — Michael Vincent Ferreri’s Sicilian restaurant on the roof of Bok building — did the same, requiring all guests and employees to be fully vaccinated before coming in. A representative for Musi BYOB in Pennsport confirmed that it would be requiring its guests to be vaccinated, too. With the COVID-19 delta variant continuing to spread, and only 62 percent of Philadelphians fully vaccinated, more bars and restaurants are sure to follow.
Martha, Irwin’s, and Musi BYOB’s decisions come only two weeks after Philly public health officials said that they strongly recommended that everyone — unvaccinated and vaccinated — begin wearing masks indoors again. At the time, Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole attributed this recommendation to the increase in delta variant cases and a “small but disturbing” increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations among children in Philadelphia, as children under 12 years old are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Now, as of August 11, all businesses must either require guests to wear masks indoors or provide proof of vaccination to enter.
There were initial murmurs that proof of vaccination would become a likelihood in the Philly restaurant industry in May when the owner of Hop Sing Laundromat, who goes by Lê, said that when his bar reopens he will be requiring proof of vaccination for guests to drink there. Though the bar is still closed, Lê tell Eater that he and his staff agreed that they should wait a little longer until it feels safe to reopen. Many businesses are still asking guests to wear masks upon entering, but this next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic could be a divisive one, as businesses requiring proof of vaccination in other cities have seen an uptick in negative Yelp reviews and threats of lawsuits. Whether this entitled behavior will hit Philly is yet to be seen.
Eater will update this story as more restaurants and bars announce requirements around vaccinations. Do you know of a food business that’s requiring or requesting proof of vaccination? Let Eater Philly know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restaurants and Bars With Newly Updated Vaccination Policies
- Indoors or at the bar at Martha in Kensington
- Irwin’s Upstairs in South Philly
- Upon reopening, Hop Sing Laundromat in Chinatown
- Indoors at Musi BYOB in Pennsport
- Indoors at Sally in Fitler Square
- Indoors or at the bar at Le Virtù on East Passyunk diners will be asked if they are vaccinated and anyone not able to or who declines to confirm will be invited to sit outside
- Kalaya in South Philly has instituted a new mask mandate and requests (but not requires) unvaccinated diners eat at outdoor tables
- At Vetri Cucina in Washington Square West and Fiorella in Bella Vista, diners making reservations after September 7 will be asked to be vaccinated or eat outdoors at Fiorella
- Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook’s popular restaurants Zahav in Society Hill, Laser Wolf in Kensington, and Abe Fisher in Center City will require proof of vaccination for all indoor dining reservations made after August 31
- At the Lunar Inn, guests must provide a proof of vaccination (photo, hard copy, or scan) to eat indoors and must wear masks at outdoor tables. At Tiny’s Bottle Shop next door, guests must wear masks to shop inside.
- Sourdough pizza place Eeva in Kensington
- Sor Ynez on American Street in Kensington requires guests who are dining indoors to show proof of vaccination. Indoor dining is by reservation only.
- The three Pistola restaurants — Pistola del Sur in South Philly, Jose Pistola’s in Center City, and Sancho Pistola’s in Fishtown — all require proof of vaccination to dine indoors. Masks are required when diners seated outdoors come in to use the bathroom.
- New cocktail spot Sonny’s Cocktail Joint in Graduate Hospital
- Second District Brewing in South Philly for all indoor seating. Guests who are seated outdoors must wear a mask to come inside.
- Tattooed Mom on South Street requires guests to provide proof of vaccination to drink or dine indoors.
- Vedge in Washington Square West
- At Fiore Fine Foods in Queen Village, guests can email proof of vaccination ahead of their dinner reservation or show proof of vaccination upon arrival.
- Messina Social Club, the private social club in Passyunk Square, requires proof of vaccination for dinner reservations or guests at the bar.
- The Delta Wave Has Arrived: Here We Go Again [Eater]
- Kalaya Institutes Indoor Mask Mandate and Requests Unvaccinated Diners Eat at Outdoor Tables [EP]
- Philly Officials Now ‘Strongly Recommend’ Even Fully Vaccinated People Wear Masks Indoors [EP]
- Philadelphia Restaurant Staff and Owners, Tell Us About Your Current COVID-19 Policies [EP]