Ruthie’s BBQ and Pizza in Montclair has become the second New Jersey restaurant going public with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for indoor dining, according to a news report by the Montclair Local.
The move by the Essex County business follows a similar one by It’s Greek To Me Ridgewood in its namesake community, which on Aug. 10 began requiring patrons to show that they’ve gotten the jab in order to dine indoors.
Ruthie Perretti, who owns the eatery, reportedly told the Montclair Local that the move was in response to its close proximity to a nearby school and football field. She reportedly indicated that they’ve faced “no resistance” from customers who were asked to show their proof of vaccine. In addition, masks will be required if more than five customers are inside the establishment at once.
Masks are not required under state law, while strongly encouraged by state officials. Gov. Phil Murphy has largely resisted going back to a facemask mandate at businesses and public places, with the exception of at K-12 schools.
On Aug. 16, New York City instituted a vaccine mandate for indoor activities such as indoor dining, gyms and theaters. Many other businesses up and down New Jersey and across the nation have followed suit, as the highly contagious delta variant surges among those who have not gotten the vaccine.
Live Nation Entertainment, which owns two of the state’s largest concert venues – PNC Bank Arts Center and BB&T Pavilion – said a vaccine mandate will go into effect on Oct. 4, while the smaller 2,500-person Starland Ballroom is requiring the shot by Oct. 1.
That gives fans and staff more than the one-month waiting period needed between the first and second doses of the more commonly used Pfizer and Moderna shots.
New Jersey health care workers and other frontline staff in “high-risk” settings, such as senior homes, are required to get the shot or submit to routine COVID-19 testing, under an order Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed.
The vaccine mandate enters murky legal grounds and has become a politically and culturally divisive topic. But state and federal laws generally allow employers to impose mandates, like for inoculations.