The Bayou faced protests as one of the first private companies in Utah to demand proof of being bitten.
The Bayou, the Salt Lake City bar and restaurant that resisted protests for requiring customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, is lifting that restriction after nearly a year.
“When we first reopened the Bayou last May, we were clear about the metrics we were using to make our vaccine decisions,” the restaurant wrote Tuesday. on his Twitter feed. “Eleven months later, we have finally reached the parameters we set to reassess our needs.”
The main measure of the bar, according to its website, is a less than 10% risk of infection for groups of 50 or more people, according to Georgia Tech’s Applied BioInformatics Lab risk tool. That metric on Tuesday was 9% for Salt Lake County.
According to the Utah Department of Health’s data dashboard, as of Tuesday, 67.1% of Salt Lake County residents have been fully immunized.
“We know many may be upset with the removal of our requirement and understand that,” the restaurant continued on Twitter. “However, at all times we have tried to follow the best science available and will continue to do so.”
The bulk of responses to Tuesday’s tweets were supportive. There were a few exceptions, like the person who wrote, “Just before the next wave. You are not brilliant.
“If you had read our page, you would realize that we are well aware of the BA.2 variant and will continuously monitor the situation,” The Bayou replied. “If you had read our page, you would realize that we use multiple metrics, including wastewater data, that will provide early warnings.”
The Bayou, like most bars and restaurants, closed when the COVID-19 pandemic began — and when it reopened, at first it only served take-out orders.
Owner Mark Alston, in an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune in January 2022, wrote, “We did not reopen our restaurant until our staff and customers could be fully immunized, then we asked everyone in the building to be fully vaccinated.
The mere act of masking up in a restaurant, only to take the mask off while eating, was “theatre,” Alston told Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke last May. “That everyone gets their vaccine is not theater.
The Bayou’s announcement in May drew angry reactions from right-wing anti-vax groups online.
“These guys freaked out and were literally outraged and mad,” Alston told Gehrke. “They suggested all kinds of violent things, wishing death for us and everyone we know, wishing us to fail miserably.”
Despite lifting its own vaccination requirement, the Bayou is staunchly pro-vaccine. On its COVID-19 page, the restaurant encouraged people to get vaccinated and boosted, noting that those who are not vaccinated “are 10 times more likely to die than a boosted person, 5 times more likely to end up in the hospital and twice more”. likely to test positive.
The bar’s website also notes, brazenly, that “we continue to discriminate against people under the age of 21 and still require ‘papers’ (driver’s license or passport) for everyone because of our liquor license” .
Editor’s note • This story is only available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers. Please support local journalism.