Two restaurants on the north side of Pittsburgh require proof of vaccination | Coronavirus | Pittsburgh

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CP photo: Lisa Cunningham

Lola Bistro in the North Side of Pittsburgh

Starting August 4, two restaurants on the north side of Pittsburgh will require full proof of vaccination and identification for service.

According to a social media post, Leo. a pub and Lola Bistro require proof of vaccination and corresponding ID for service. The message states that this policy will begin on August 4. Both restaurants are owned and operated by Chef / Owner Michael Barnhouse and his wife Yelena. Barnhouse says proof of vaccination is only required for food service, not for take out.
According to the CDC, Allegheny County has moved to the “substantial” level of coronovirus transmission. This means that everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, should wear masks in indoor public places. On August 2, Allegheny County recorded a three-day total of 320 new cases of COVID-19, continuing an upward trend in cases throughout the past week.

The response to Leo and Lola Bistro’s decision to require vaccination for the service has been mostly positive, according to the social media post. Barnhouse says the decision to require vaccinations was meant to protect residents of the North Side community, which he says makes up the vast majority of his clientele.

“We have to pull the trigger on this,” Barnhouse said. “First and foremost, we need to protect the people in our neighborhood. This is our first priority.”

Barnhouse estimates that about 70% of Leo and Lola’s clients are from the North Side, and he knows most of them personally. He says many of them are older and some have immunity issues. Barnhouse says the remaining 30% of its customers are typically from outside the region, remaining in the large percentage of Airbnb rentals on the north side. He says it is reasonable to require vaccination because he does not know if a percentage of his clients are vaccinated.

“We are literally doing this for the people we care about, that’s all,” says Barnhouse, who adds that the trajectory of cases is too high not to act.

Leo. a pub and Lola Bistro are joining at least one other restaurant in Pittsburgh to demand vaccination for the service. Apteka, an Eastern European vegan restaurant in Bloomfield, reopened on July 24 and demanded that restaurant patrons be vaccinated, according to a social media post.

Other companies have also reinstated COVID restrictions as cases continue to rise. Grocery chain Giant Eagle has announced that it is asking vaccinated and unvaccinated customers to wear masks when shopping from August 5 and that all employees will wear masks inside its stores. Giant Eagle is also considering requiring that all employees be vaccinated.

As of August 2, about 55% of residents of Allegheny County were fully vaccinated, with about 60% having at least one dose of the vaccine. The vaccination gap appears to be that of people 45 and under. According to health officials, 99% of people 65 and older in Allegheny County are vaccinated. However, these rates are much lower for many Pittsburgh area counties outside of Allegheny County.

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