- The owner of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach, California, says he will require “proof of being unvaccinated” to enter his restaurants.
- Meanwhile, an Orange County pizzeria has set up an exclusive dining area where customers must prove they’ve been tested for COVID-19 or submit to testing on-site.
If you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach, California, doesn’t want your business. But you can always cruise over to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michelle in Hollywood, where they’ve set up a special outdoor dining area just for folks concerned about contracting the virus.
Basilico’s, owned by Tony Roman, has taken a hardline stance against COVID-19 masks since the pandemic started in March 2020. In defiance of an Orange County order that mandated face coverings in public spaces, the restaurant declared itself a mask-free zone at the time. As of this week, Basilico’s has essentially banned vaccinated diners from the premises entirely.
In an all-caps July 20 post on Facebook, Roman announced he was requiring customers to provide “proof of being unvaccinated” to enter the restaurant. The post added: “We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity.”
In a subsequent Facebook post on July 23, Roman touted the recent visit of a WWII veteran and noted, “Heroes like Fred are who we have in our hearts and minds when taking a stand against the lockdown tiny tyrants in defense of American liberty and freedom! We fight in their honor always!”
As the Los Angeles Times reports, Basilico’s has also put up signs bearing the same message. However, the newspaper said an employee confirmed that the eatery is not actually checking guests’ vaccination status.
In an email to the Los Angeles Times, Roman explained his stance: “With warning signs of another impending lockdown and many business owners again emboldening those who I refer to as ‘the lockdown tiny tyrants’—this time by imposing proof-of-vaccination policies—we chose to fire another missile of defiance to further make our point in defense of American liberty and freedom.”
COVID-19 infections are rising at an alarming rate in California, with an average of nearly 5,000 new cases a day. As of July 15, Orange County itself had recorded 328 new coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today revised its guidance on masks and now recommends that some fully vaccinated people go back to wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging.
Fortunately, virus-wary Italian food lovers in Orange County have the option to try out L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michelle in Hollywood. Owner Francesco Zimone has created a new outdoor dining space exclusively for customers who want to stay healthy and COVID-free. To eat and drink in the space, called Caffe degli Artisti, guests must show either a COVID-19 test from the last 24 hours or submit to a rapid test offered on-site. Only those who test negative for COVID-19 can enjoy the space, which can accommodate up to 55 guests with socially distanced seating.
“In addition to our current safety measures, we have designed and built an even safer dining haven,” a July 26 post on L’Antica’s Facebook page reads. Caffe degli Artisti is described as “completely hidden and tucked away using mature trees. Beautiful lighting sets the mood for an amazing lounging experience to safely relax and mingle right in the heart of Hollywood.”