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Vail area restaurants not likely to require proof of vaccinations

Vail Resorts will require proof at on-mountain restaurants

While Vail Resorts announced last month it will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at indoor on-mountain cafeteria-style restaurants, independent restaurants in Vail, Avon and Beaver Creek are largely going their own way. Might that confuse guests?

Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Sales and Marketing Director Wendy Mallas said she believes guests won’t have much trouble distinguishing between on-mountain and off-mountain rules.

“We’re so fortunate that (our) consumers are very savvy — they’re adept at navigating travel and they’ve been navigating through COVID,” Mallas said.



The Westin Riverfront has ample room for guests to stay distanced from each other at its restaurants and bars, Mallas said. In the absence of public health orders, the property won’t require masks or proof of vaccines.

Drew Riley runs Russell’s and Los Amigos in Vail. Riley acknowledged that there could be some guest confusion over which businesses in Vail are operated by Vail Resorts.



Riley noted that showing vaccination cards isn’t a bad thing. But, he added, he doesn’t think most restaurants will require it. Russell’s and Los Amigos probably won’t.

“I get why (Vail Resorts) is doing it,” Riley said. But, he added, pondering a similar requirement for his restaurants has to balance a number of issues. He recalled the “pain and agony” his staff went through trying to enforce mask mandates last winter.

Given that there are counterfeit vaccination cards available, Riley called asking customers for proof of vaccines a “gray world.”

“We’re just trying to have the best customer service,” he added.

John Shipp’s company owns the Dusty Boot restaurant in Beaver Creek. The world seems to be changing, Shipp said, with people starting to understand they may have to present proof of vaccines in some places.

The Dusty Boot isn’t a place where proof of vaccination is required.

“That’s not a business we want to get into,” Shipp said.

Shipp added his “foremost concern is public safety.” That also includes staff at his restaurants, who have endured a lot of stress during the pandemic.

“We can’t take our frustrations out on service people,” he said.

In Avon, Sauce on the Creek general manager Ross Cohen said the establishment also isn’t requiring vaccination proof from guests.

La Bottega owner Steve Virion said he thinks the Vail Resorts mandate may actually benefit restaurants off the mountain.

“I don’t think (the mandate) is going to affect us,” Virion said. “It may be good for (us) getting more staff. They may be more prone to not work for Vail Resorts if they have to get shots.”


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