OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A Midtown Oklahoma City restaurant is taking a major stance on COVID-19. As of Wednesday, Ludivine will be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for dine-in customers.
“We don’t want to be doing this any more than people want us to be doing it. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. It’s logistically very challenging,” said Russ Johnson, Ludivine owner.
Ludivine took to Facebook Tuesday evening to share this message, “Requirements for indoor seating as of September 1st, 2021: Proof of Vaccination or Negative test result in the last 72 hours. Patio seating is open to guests that do not meet this criteria. Masks required for all!”
“Restaurants are struggling right now with staff. So, they want to keep their staff as safe as they can keep them, and, obviously, they want to treat their guests well and keep their guests healthy. I could see this happening in other places,” said Jim Hopper, Oklahoma Restaurant Association President.
Hopper said the last year and a half has been incredibly difficult for the restaurant industry, with many still playing catchup after closing down for parts of 2020.
“The average restaurant has lost about 50 percent of their revenue since April of 2020 through year to date,” Hopper said. “So, everything may look good from the outside, from the dining public. ‘Oh, they’re busy” and all those kind of things. But they are really struggling to keep their heads above water and meet their obligations and pay their bills.”
Oklahoma State Medical Association President Mary Clarke, MD, sent KFOR a statement, saying in part, “We applaud Ludivine and other businesses who are working to keep their employees, customers and community healthy through proactive COVID-19 mitigation efforts.”
The new rule is not bothering some Midtown customers.
“You don’t have to eat there if you don’t want to eat there,” said Lauren Alvarez, who is visiting Oklahoma City.
“I am totally up for having to show a card or wear a mask if I need to. I feel like I’m doing my part to help protect others,” said Chance Lea, who just moved to OKC.
Ludivine’s owner hopes other restaurants or bars will follow.
“I mean, sure. I think it’s an important safety protocol. I think it’s good for the guests. It’s good for the staff,” Johnson said.
We asked Johnson if he will be implementing the same rule for R&J’s Supper Club, which he is also an owner of. He says not at the moment but that could change.