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Fairfax restaurant first in area to require proof of vaccine to dine inside

Dozens of customers have been turned away from Pho Banh Mi & Grill in Fairfax since the owner put in place a policy this week requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.

FAIRFAX, Va. — You've heard of no shirts, no shoes, no service. But what about no vaccine card?

A Fairfax restaurant is saying just that. Pho Banh Mi & Grill on Chain Bridge Road recently started requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to order or eat inside. The establishment is taking a bold step in keeping its customers and employees safe, even at the possible cost of turning some business away.  Since then, 28 people without proof of vaccination have been turned away. 

Owner Francis Do said the decision came in light of weakening vaccination numbers and the White House expressing frustration about misinformation on vaccines as the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We needed to do something new, something bold, to make sure people know the vaccine works," said Do, who has carefully watched the numbers on vaccinations and coronavirus cases in recent weeks before deciding to require vaccine proof. "I saw the president on Monday say not enough people are vaccinated. We need to trust the doctors and the science."

Do said the restaurant wants to do its part to end the pandemic. 

"I want people to feel safe," he said. "My employees are all vaccinated." 

However, once patrons have provided vaccine cards or proof of vaccination, he does not require masks in the Vietnamese restaurant.

Since Monday, Pho Banh Mi & Grill has received mixed customer reactions to the new policy.

"We've had some nasty calls, some nasty customers," Do said. "But I stay positive, and we have other calls in support. It's like fifty-fifty right now."

Of the 28 people Do has turned away, he said some were more gracious than others. 

"One man picked up an outdoor chair, and slammed it up and down," Do said. "Can you believe that?" 

Do plans to encourage other restaurant owners in the area in the coming days to follow his lead and require the vaccine to dine indoors. 

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