August 10, 2022

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COVID inspector booted from NYC bar for failing to show proof of vaccination

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COVID inspector booted from NYC bar for failing to show proof of vaccination

A New York City health inspector carrying out random COVID compliance checks was refused entry to a Staten Island bar — because she couldn’t show her own proof of a covid vaccination.

Bar manager Maggie Koronilian told The New York Post on Friday how she booted the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene employee from Big Nose Kate’s Saloon and Eatery on Tuesday.

“I don’t understand how you’re coming here enforcing something and not cooperating with the very thing that you’re trying to enforce,” she said of the Big Apple’s stringent Key to NYC rules for bars and restaurants.

Koronilian said inspector Benedicta Opara came to the South Shore bar Tuesday with her official identification on clear display.

“She said, ‘I’m here to do a COVID inspection,’ so I asked to see her vaccination card, as we do for anyone who comes here,” said Koronilian, whose boyfriend, Vincent Signorile, is Big Nose Kate’s owner.

“She just said, ‘No. That’s what I’m here checking for,’ and that she wasn’t there to stay and eat,” recalled the manager.

Koronilian said she told Opara that she had to be “checked just like everybody else” if she wanted to come in.

“I asked her a few times to show it to me before I told her, ‘Listen, we better go outside,’” said Koronilian.

As they stood outside Big Nose Kate’s, the inspector was able to check that the bar’s paperwork was indeed in compliance with the city’s latest COVID rules.

“As she’s looking through the paperwork, I just looked at her and I said, ‘You know, you’re not above the law,’” recalled Koronilian, clarifying that she had meant to say mandate.

“She asked, ‘What law?’ and I pointed to the vaccination signs hung on the front of the bar and said, ‘This bulls–t,’” Koronilian said.

“I have my notices on the door so I am 100 percent in compliance and doing everything to the ‘T,’ she said. “We’re not happy doing it, but we’re doing everything that’s required.

“And that means that anybody that comes in — whether a customer or an inspector — has to follow the mandate,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed to The Post that “the inspector was able to complete this Key to NYC inspection and found this establishment to be in compliance.”

The rep did not, however, explain why Opara refused to show her vaccination card but insisted she has to have been jabbed to do the job.

“Employees of the City of New York are required to be vaccinated, and health inspectors interacting with the public are vaccinated against COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

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