3 women assault restaurant hostess who asked for vaccination proof: Cops

Three tourists from Texas were arrested after attacking a hostess at Carmine's Italian Restaurant on the Upper West Side, according to the NYPD.

On Thursday at about 5:30 p.m., the 24-year-old hostess asked the trio for proof of COVID vaccination to enter the popular restaurant as is required by New York City regulations.

The tourists argued with the hostess over the existence or legitimacy of their COVID documents and proceeded to assault the restaurant worker, police said.

Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, of Houston and Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, and Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, both of Humble, were accused of punching and hitting the hostess multiple times. The trio also broke her necklace during the assault, according to police officers. 

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They were given desk appearance tickets and ordered to appear in court on Oct. 5.

The NY Hospitality Alliance said two more women were involved in the assault but were not arrested.

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"It’s a shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job – as required by city policies – and trying to make a living," said a spokesperson from Carmine’s Italian Restaurant. "Our focus right now is caring for our employee and the rest of our restaurant family. We are a family-style restaurant, and this is the absolute last experience any of our employees should ever endure and any customers witness."

The Alliance wants Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase the awareness campaign of the "Key to NYC" vaccine requirements for indoor dining to the public, especially to visitors who may be unaware of the policy.

New York City's rule requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurant dining, gyms and entertainment venues has been in effect since Aug. 17 but is only being enforced as of this week.

Carmine's, which has two locations in New York City as well as outposts in spots including Las Vegas, is known for large servings of pasta and other Italian dishes. 

A message seeking comment was left with restaurant management Friday.

With the Associated Press