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Texas Tourists Arrested for Assaulting NYC Restaurant Hostess Checking Vaccine Cards

·3-min read
Carmine's NYC
Carmine's NYC

Google Maps Carmine's restaurant in NYC

The hostess at an Italian restaurant in New York City was attacked Thursday by three tourists from Texas after she asked for their COVID-19 vaccination cards, a requirement to dine in city restaurants.

In a video shared on social media, three women — identified as Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, and Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, 21, of Humble, Texas, and Sally Rechelle Lewis, 49, of Houston — are seen arguing with the hostess of Carmine's on the Upper West Side before repeatedly punching the 24-year-old. Bystanders and staff broke up the fight, which left the hostess bruised and scratched up, and the women broke her necklace, police told The New York Times.

The three women were arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief, and ordered to return for a court appearance. An unnamed patient was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital.

RELATED: 1 in 500 Americans Have Now Died of COVID-19

As of Monday, New York City restaurants are now required to ask patrons for proof that they've received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Businesses that fail to do so can be fined $1,000.

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Carmine's called it a "tragic situation."

"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," the restaurant said. "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."

RELATED VIDEO: NYC To Require Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Dining And Fitness

Along with dining in restaurants, people are also required to show proof of vaccination to attend live performances and go to gyms or movie theaters in New York City. Several other cities have begun implementing similar rules, and on Wednesday Los Angeles County said patrons have to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4 to go in indoor bars, night clubs, lounges, wineries and breweries.

RELATED: Los Angeles Unified School District Mandates COVID-19 Vaccines for All Students 12 and Older

As of Sept. 17, 63.4% of the U.S. population — or 210,700,361 people — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 54.2% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Of the population that is eligible for the vaccine, those aged 12 and up, 74.2% have received at least one dose and 63.5% are fully vaccinated.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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