You may have seen the news lately that New Mexico Restaurant Association Member Ten Thousand Waves recently enacted vaccination requirements for lodging, indoor dining, and spa guests. You may have also wondered how that worked out for them.

In what many considered a bold move, all lodging, and hot tub guests, as well as indoor dining patrons at the spa’s Izanami restaurant, have to show proof they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a negative test within 72 hours of visiting.

A statement on their website clearly outlines their position and explains in detail what the qualifications are for visiting either Ten Thousand Waves or Izanami. The proof of vaccination has to include the following, and is presented on the day of the reservation:

–  Patron’s full name
– The date(s) of vaccination
– The type of vaccine you received
– The name of the government entity or healthcare facility that provided the vaccine
– A driver’s license or government ID corresponding to the name on the vaccine documentation.

“As things started to get a little more serious with the delta variant, I saw we need to influence a greater number of people,” owner Duke Klauck told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “We are trying to make this particular place safe for guests and employees. The message is we were all thinking a couple of months ago that we are back to normal. The truth of the matter is we are not.”

In a recent conversation with Klauck, NMRA learned that this has turned out to be a successful move for his business. Klauck told our CEO, Carol Wight, that since he started requiring vaccination proof the business has been packed. He attributes the surge of customers directly to the new policy because patrons know the business is doing everything possible to protect them.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Klauck and his executive team started considering requiring vaccinations or COVID-19 test results about three weeks ago following an announcement from influential New York restaurateur Danny Meyer that vaccinations or test results would be required at his dozen or so full-service restaurants.

Other prominent restaurants across the country have started requiring proof of vaccinations for diners, but so far, Izanami appears to be the only full-service New Mexico restaurant to do so. “He’s taking it very seriously and seeing great results,” Wight said of Klauck.

As New Mexico faces down another surge in COVID cases, our industry is faced with difficult decisions about what needs to be done to help slow the spread. We think it is important to highlight the efforts restaurants are making during this difficult time and help other owners make educated decisions on what is best for their operation.