SoCal restaurant requiring diners provide 'proof of being unvaccinated'

Despite the current uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, one Southern California eatery is requiring diners provide "proof of being unvaccinated."

"More American counties, cities, and businesses doubling down on anti-American lockdown mandates? Well 'Basilico's Pasta e Vino' just tripled down: From day one, never complied, banned masks, and now ... requiring proof of being Un-vaccinated!" the Huntington Beach restaurant wrote on its Facebook page.

Credit: Basilico’s Pasta e Vino (FOX 11)

Basilico’s Pasta e Vino restaurant made headlines in late 2020 when the owner, Tony Roman, forbid customers and employees from wearing face masks.

RELATED: Huntington Beach restaurant owner forbids mask-wearing inside establishment

"It’s our rule, if they don’t want to work here, they don’t have to work here," he told FOX 11 at the time.

Although Orange County doesn't require proof of vaccination one way or another for customers wanting to dine out, neighboring Los Angeles County recently re-implemented its indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status. A move Los Angeles County health officials said was to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization.

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Since news broke of Basilico's Pasta e Vino's requiring customers to provide "proof of being unvaccinated," the eatery said on Instagram that they've received nonstop phone calls, threats, and "hundreds of one-star reviews."

In response to articles about the announcement, the restaurant posted a message on social media: 

"Again, here come the haters, and with it, the harassing non-stop phone calls, threats and hundreds of one star reviews. And guess what? We at ‘Basílico’s Pasta E Vino’ wear it all as a badge of honor! Attention: tiny tyrants, wannabe little dictators, pro-lockdown/pro-mask/pro mandatory vaccine mini gestapo American traitors and snitches, and yes, especially ‘Gavin Pelosi’ and ‘Stronzo Fauci’… we feel blessed to go into battle against all of you in defense of American liberty and freedom, so bring it on!" 

Despite calls to "bring it on," Roman refused to go on camera Monday with FOX 11.

When asked if the new policy was a joke, Roman said to tell viewers to "read between the lines, and if they can't understand that, I need to put up another sign saying they're too stupid to enter."

Health officials, including the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, have stressed that soaring virus cases over the past few weeks are being fueled by unvaccinated people and the fast spread of the delta variant.

"We’re going in the wrong direction," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union," describing himself as "very frustrated."

Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said that recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is "under active consideration" by the government’s leading public health officials.

RELATED: Fauci: US headed in 'wrong direction' on coronavirus

He noted that some local jurisdictions where infection rates are surging, such as LA County, are already calling on individuals to wear masks in public regardless of vaccination status. Fauci said those local rules are compatible with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks in public.

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