California restaurant requiring customers to prove they are unvaccinated before entering

A South Californian restaurant said that the establishment will now require proof of being “unvaccinated” before allowing patrons to enter.

Basilico’s Pasta e Vino, in Huntington Beach, posted signs near its entrance informing customers of its new policy this week. The notices, which were shared to the restaurant’s social media pages as well, appear to suggest that vaccines are both ‘anti-American’ and ‘stupid.’ “Notice: Proof of being unvaccinated required,” reads the signage, which also features an image depicting a pair of hands breaking apart a syringe.

“We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.” Basilico’s owner, Tony Roman, failed to explain how staff expect customers to provide proof of being unvaccinated. A staff member who spoke with the Los Angeles Times said the restaurant would not be asking for any official documentation, according to the outlet.

In a Facebook video shared Tuesday, Roman, suggested that the new policy come sin direct response to renewed mask mandates in cities across the country amid the emergence of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant. Los Angeles, for example, had reinstated its mask mandate for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated residents at indoor public gatherings earlier this month.

Roman said in the video that he was prepared to “go into battle against the little dictators of the lockdowns” and invited fellow business owners to follow Basilico’s and their “aggressive and uncompromising blueprint for battling and defeating the wannabe-dictators waging war on American liberty.”

Over 2020, the restaurant made headlines for similar stunts, including defying California’ statewide mask mandate in September. At the time, Basilico’s had a “no masks allowed” policy and even put up a billboard in L.A. advertising its stance with a quote paraphrased from 1972’s “The Godfather.” “Leave the mask, take the cannoli,” the billboard read.

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently criticized the “politicization” of public health initiatives as well as the “right-wing echo chamber that has been perpetuating misinformation,” specifically surrounding the efficacy of masks and vaccines. “We are exhausted, respectfully, exhausted by the ideological prism that too many Americans are living under,” Newsom said on Monday, while presenting a plan to require California state officials to show proof of vaccination or get tested weekly for COVID-19.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye added that vaccine hesitancy is being fueled by the same type of misinformation and contributing to rising case numbers in the state, in reference to the delta variant. “A lot of people are watching social media and thinking the information is correct,” she said in a recent segment on California State University public radio. “So we need to be able to dispel that, and it’s a lot of work, it’s hard work.”



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