Fine dining in Detroit just got more affordable — if you’re vaccinated.
Oak & Reel, an upscale seafood restaurant which opened in Sept. 2020 amid the pandemic, has announced plans to give 50% off for dine-in customers who can show proof of vaccination, now that indoor dining is once again allowed in the Wolverine State.
Eateries in Michigan and Massachusetts have already started offering the promotions, which give discounts to vaccinated diners.
The promotion, however, seems less targeted at penalizing patrons who don’t get the COVID vaccine, but more of a thank-you for the frontline workers who may receive the vaccinations before the rest of the local population, as the deal currently only runs through the end of February.
“We are so grateful for the work our frontline workers have put in over the last year, and would like to thank them for their efforts,” said Oak & Reel in a post shared to the restaurant’s Facebook account on Tuesday.
Jared Gadbaw, the chef and owner of Oak & Reel, told Fox News that while the promotion is open to all diners, he’s aware that it “will mostly benefit our frontline workers and the older generation.”
“We thought that, while this pandemic has hit all of us, these groups have been hardest hit, and we would like to celebrate the work done as well as the return to some sense of normalcy for those that have been in isolation for the past year,” Gadbaw explained.
The Rumbleseat Bar & Grill in Chicopee, Mass., however, is a bit more blunt about its own 20% vaccine discount for dine-in customers every Monday, also announced this week.
“I want to motivate,” restaurant owner Bill Stetson told MassLive. “I want it known out there that we support people getting the shots.” Stetson added that he also believes the efforts of Massachusetts’ frontline workers should be recognized, as should the senior citizens who are currently eligible for vaccination in the Bay State.
The owner of the Rumbleseat Bar and Grill in Chicopee, Mass., says the promotion is intended to encourage vaccinations, but also honor frontline workers and the elderly.
Like Oak & Reel in Detroit, Rumbleseat will also require proof of vaccination in the form of a state-issued vaccination card, which will be provided to residents after their first doses.
Before either of the Michigan and Massachusetts restaurants began extending their vaccine promotions, however, restaurants in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, may have actually kickstarted the trend last week. Multiple eateries owned by the Gates Hospitality Group hare currently offering a “Spread Love, Not Rona” deal — 10% off to those who show proof of their first vaccination, and 20% off for those who have received their second dose.
Naim Maadad, the founder of the Gates Hospitality Group, told Emirates Woman that the participating restaurants have been “inundated with calls” about the offer — which means his goal of promoting vaccination efforts might be working.
“The goal is to encourage people to go in for the vaccination and incentivize those who volunteer for doing their bit in the fight to stop the spread of the dreaded virus,” he told the outlet.
It remains to be seen whether these promotions will begin trending beyond the few U.S. eateries currently offering such deals. But Rumbleseat owner Bill Stetson certainly hopes so.
“If people don’t get the vaccine … then my business will never be able to open up normally,” he told MassLive. “It’ll be a good feeling to know that everyone in the restaurant is vaccinated.”