For this restaurant owner, L.A.’s vaccine mandate means bracing herself to tell customers ‘no’

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Earlier this month, Milbet del Cid used social media to put customers of its Guatemalan restaurant on alert. Soon, she would have to make sure they were vaccinated to go in.

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Almost immediately, criticism began.

“If you’re obliged to ask,” one customer wrote in response, “then we won’t eat there anymore, so there.”


Come Monday, Los Angeles’ vaccine mandate will force Del Cid to ask people for proof of vaccination. She can either enforce the law and forbid certain people from entering her restaurant, or she can violate it, which Del Cid said she would not do.


Either way, it won’t be fun.

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“If I don’t let customers eat,” she said, “who’s going to lose that business? Me.”

But the stakes are too high for Del Cid to retreat: Latinos have been infected and killed More numbers by coronavirus than any other group. And most of its customers are Latino.

At his Amalia restaurant on the edge of Koreatown, Del Cid has repeatedly tried to debunk false claims about the vaccine. She said a woman told her it contained a microchip, men said it caused fertility problems, and some religious customers even tried to link it It stands for “mark of the beast”.

“Wrong information is given to the people. “I’m afraid a lot of Latinos haven’t been vaccinated.”

The Latino community, which makes up almost half of Los Angeles, suffered Big loss in employment and wages in the wake of the pandemic. And now, medical misinformation is spreading on social media and contributing to the relatively low vaccination rate among Latinos.

“I want to say that 95% of my clients are Latinos and 80% of them are Guatemalans,” she said. “I’d say maybe 50% of them haven’t been vaccinated based on my conversations.”

Every day she said she hears lies about the vaccine from customers. At least two members of her family refused vaccination as they succumbed to the conspiracies. Two weeks ago, one of them contracted COVID-19 and was intubated after his health deteriorated. She said that because of this incident another member of the family had to get vaccinated.

Del Cid shares his family’s story with customers as a reminder of the consequences of conspiracies and living without vaccinations.

“But they don’t care,” she said.

She said customers threatened to go elsewhere and bragged about other restaurants saying they would not ask for vaccination proof. He told them that the law is LA. Applicable to every restaurant of

City and health officials hope the new ordinance will help reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading in high-risk areas. The new vaccine validation mandate, one of the strictest in the country, applies to indoor facilities such as coffee shops, museums, theaters and other venues.

Enforcement of the City Program, dub safe pass, starting from monday, Violating businesses or locations will face penalties – first a warning, then an increasing range of fines starting at $1,000 and topping out at $5,000 for a fourth or subsequent violation.

Del Cid said that he Supports the mandate but worries that with the spread of misinformation and so many Latinos not being vaccinated, he and other Latino business owners will feel the law’s impact more than others.

“I have to be … the bodyguard for the city,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re doing our job. If I don’t let people in, I don’t have customers and if I don’t have customers it means I don’t have a business. And rent, I have to keep paying. Permit, I have to keep paying.”

Isaias Valle, 79, enjoys a meal at Amalia’s restaurant in Los Angeles on November 21. Vale has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday, many establishments like Amalia will have to ask for proof of vaccination for several months.
(Francin Orr / )

On a recent Sunday morning almost every table inside Amalia’s restaurant was packed with couples and families.

Sitting near the bar, along a yellow wall dotted with Guatemalan slang, longtime customer Isaias Valle was eating a tostada alone. A plate with two chuchitos — small tamales — sat beside a takeout foam box.

The 79-year-old said he is in favor of the new city’s ordinance that requires people to show proof of vaccination before eating indoors.

“I think we, Latinos, need to try and protect each other,” he said. “If there’s a vaccine, why not get it?”

Vale said he has been fully vaccinated. So are his family and friends. He said he plans to get a booster shot soon. He was saddened by the thought of people who were not vaccinated and died.

“It is very sad for me that my own people are dying,” he said. “It brings pain and suffering to families.”

A couple smiling at a table in a restaurant.
Mardi Melado, 47, with her husband, Boris Melado, 50, at Amalia’s restaurant on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. The couple joked that it was their honeymoon at the restaurant. They married on 13 November. He said the wedding was on Saturday. He urged all the attendees to get vaccinated. All were vaccinated except one.
(Francin Orr / )

At a nearby table, Boris Melado, 50, his wife, Mardi, 47, and their mother-in-law, Berta Mendez, 71, watched a marimba band set up for a live performance. He sipped coffee and looked forward to his breakfast, confident in his vaccination status.

“It’s great,” Mendez said of the vaccine mandate. “It’s good to know that the person sitting in front of you has been vaccinated.”

“Exactly,” voiced her daughter. “You walk in a sense of security and confidence, knowing that the risk of infection is low. It’s also good for your own mental health.”

“But you also have to consider that some businesses will lose money because of it,” said Boris Melado.

“Well, some people don’t want to get vaccinated,” Mendez replied.

“Okay, put that aside for now. What I mean is that if I come here to spend $30, but for whatever reason I don’t have proof, the business just lost $30.” , ”said Boris Melado. “It’s a double-edged sword.”

A drummer, double bassist and three marimba players began to perform in the background. Everyone took out their phones to record the video. The waitress made her way through the maze of tables, delivering drinks and food.

A woman in a face mask checks two patrons for proof of vaccination at a restaurant.
Paola Morataya, 39, checks out proof of vaccination at Amalia’s restaurant on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. The men had proof of vaccination.
(Francin Orr / )

At the front, Paola Morataya, 39, requested proof of vaccinations from customers before taking their orders. After paying, he gave them a table where they could sit and play the marimba orchestra.

It was around 1 p.m. when Manuel Bonillas, 55, and his wife, Myrna Bonillas, 52, came in. When Morataya asked for his proof of vaccination, Myrna Bonillas took out a hard copy of it. But her husband, Manuel, a construction worker, scrolled in despair through dozens of photos on his phone. He told the host that he had been vaccinated but could not find a picture of his vaccination card.

Mortaya warns him that she will allow him to sit and eat this time. But soon, if he shows up without proof of vaccination he’ll have to give a different answer: a hard “no.”

While drinking coffee at the table, Manuel Bonillas said that he is always afraid to carry his hard copy because he is afraid of losing it or tearing it.

“I have it here somewhere,” he said, unlocking his phone and scrolling through the photos again. “It’s going to be a pain in the ass.”

“But I am very much in support of it,” he added quickly.

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