José Andrés’s DC-Area Restaurants Are Now Requiring Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining

ThinkFoodGroup employees must start the vaccination process by the end of the month.

Jaleo photograph by Scott Suchman

The biggest name in DC’s dining scene is joining the quickly growing ranks of restaurants requiring proof of vaccination. Washington City Paper reported yesterday that José Andrés is implementing the policy at all DC-area locations of Jaleo, Oyamel, China Chilcano, Zaytinya, Spanish Diner, and Barmini (plus Minibar when it reopens).

The vaccine mandate applies to all indoor diners 12 years and older. A spokesperson for Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup says that unvaccinated diners will be allowed on outdoor patios. Patrons can show a physical vaccine card, a photo of the card, government-provided digital record, or Health Pass by CLEAR.

ThinkFoodGroup employees will also be required to be vaccinated, and the majority already are. The “very small number” who aren’t have until the end of August to start the vaccination process, “or face unpaid leave,” a spokesperson says. The company is giving out a $100 incentive to get the shot. Meanwhile, employees will also receive training on how to communicate the policy to diners. While the response has been generally positive for other restaurants that are now requiring proof of vaccination, some have experienced harassment.

In a very un-Andrés fashion, the chef and humanitarian hasn’t made much of a splash of the announcement beyond the City Paper story. The new rules aren’t on the restaurants’ home pages but rather buried under the location and hours tabs of each website. (Go figure: a Popville reader first spotted the new rules.) None of the restaurants’ social media pages have mentioned the vaccine policy a day after the news was widely reported. Even Andrés, a prolific tweeter, has yet to promote it on his own accounts. Then again, he’s pretty busy sharing dispatches from World Central Kitchen’s relief efforts for wildfire victims in Greece and migrant families along the Texas border.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.