San Jose pizza restaurant to mandate masks and require proof of vaccination for customers, employees

Dustin Dorsey Image
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
SJ pizza restaurant mandates masks, proof of vaccination
The owners of Tony & Alba's Pizza and Pasta will begin to require proof of vaccination and masks for customers and employees starting July 27.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- More and more businesses are beginning to require proof of vaccination status before entering.

It's a topic that is getting mixed reviews from Bay Area residents.

Despite concern customers may be upset, the owners of Tony & Alba's Pizza and Pasta say they will be mandating masks and proof of vaccination inside their store to ensure safety for everyone.

RELATED: Most San Francisco bars to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for entry

Tony & Alba's Pizza and Pasta owners Al and Diana Vallorz took the time to stop and smell the flowers with their granddaughters on their day off Monday.

It's something they worried may not have been possible when they both contracted COVID-19 earlier this year.

"For the whole month, I was really, really ill and for two months after that," Diana Vallorz said. "Now I still have some long-term side effects with pain, really bad pain. It comes and goes, sometimes I'll be fine and other times I can't even walk."

We met Al and Diana when they began their program to offer free meals to the elderly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community is important to them and they want to do their part to keep them safe.

They say they don't want anyone else to go through what they did.

So, they are requiring facemasks and proof of vaccinations for all employees and customers at their store.

"We just felt that we had to do the safe thing," Al Vallorz said. "Numbers are rising, people are not telling us or not telling us the truth about whether they are vaccinated or not and we want to make sure that our community, our customers and our employees are safe."

RELATED: Coronavirus kindness: San Jose pizza company donates, delivers meals to elderly in quarantine

Masks will be required to be worn by all customers while in the store and unvaccinated guests can only dine outside or order takeout.

It's a policy that the owners say has gotten mostly positive when they posted it on their social media pages, but there were some people upset as well.

"There are people saying that they're going to tell other people not to come," Diana Vallorz said. "Which doesn't make sense because sure you don't want to do it because you're upset. But if you're telling us not to tell you what to do, then why are you telling other people not to come to our restaurant."

Just next door to the pizza shop Must Be Thai is concerned about that same backlash if they were to introduce a similar mandate.

They have hygiene measures in place, but won't mandate vaccine status unless health officials require it.

"My employees are just starting to make a good income, decent income at least," Must Be Thai Owner Thalia Swangchaeng said. "So, I'm a little worried if we turn down customers, we might lose those customers and it will affect our team and my employees as well."

The customers we spoke with say they support any restaurant decision if it helps everyone stay safe.

"It would make me feel safer," Tu Nguyen said.

"Honestly I would be okay with it," Austin Block said. "The only way for this pandemic to ultimately end is if a sufficient portion of the population gets vaccinated and vaccines are readily available in the United States now, so there's no excuse not to get one.

Despite other Bay Area businesses introducing similar mandates, there is no county or state rule as of now.

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