RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens of restaurant workers in Metro Richmond used their typical Monday off to get their COVID-19 booster shot.
Staff at LUNCH and Supper teamed up with Vaccine Here to serve up doses to restaurant workers in Scott’s Addition.
“They’re waiting on us, touching utensils and everything so I think it’s really important to keep their businesses open,” clinic organizer Tunstall Bagley Willis said “Many restaurants are closed so the workers can get here, take the rest of the day off, and rest up if they don’t feel so great.”
Hanna Clinton learned about the clinic from her manager at Stella’s Market. She joined the Richmond eatery after losing her theater job during the lockdowns.
“I want to be all vaxxed up and be safe for everybody else,” Clinton said after receiving her booster. “I have immunocompromised people in my family. It’s important to get out there make sure everybody is safe.”
The restaurant and tourism industry were arguably some of the hardest hit since COVID emerged.
In September, the National Restaurant Association-backed the Biden’s administration directive to mandate vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing requirements for companies employing at least 100 people.
Ricky Lyons, who owns LUNCH and Supper, offered his space for the clinic.
“I think when people get vaccinated, they want that sense of safety. I’m going to a safe place,” Lyons described his property.
The clinic was held outside in Lyons’ beer garden.
“We are very fortunate to have this space,” he said. “My staff is amazing. The people we retained are the best of the best.”
Right now, Lyons does not mandate his employees get vaccinated, but an estimated 98 percent of his staff have already rolled up their sleeves.
“For the most part I think most restaurant people are getting vaccinated,” he explained.
To increase the service area, Willis opened the clinic to both first-time vaccine patients and those who are ready for their booster shot.
About 70 people had signed up for an appointment as of Monday afternoon.
“Richmond has a really big food scene and it’s important that we help businesses stay open right now because so many closed during the pandemic,” Clinton stated.
Vaccine Here, which also operates a Test Here site, continues to offer vaccinations and boosters to eligible individuals at their location on Forest Avenue.