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Restaurant owner gets backlash after asking for proof of vaccination


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    RALEIGH, North Carolina (WRAL) — Last week, after Gov. Roy Cooper lifted the mask mandate but recommended that those who aren’t fully vaccinated still wear a mask, Hisine McNeill, owner of Alpha Dawgs restaurant in southeast Raleigh, reached out to the state to see how business owners would be able to tell if someone has been vaccinated.

​“If contact tracing leads here to my restaurant and I’m hit with litigation, is somebody going to chip in and help me with that?” McNeill said.

He got no clear answer, so he decided to require masks unless customers can show proof of vaccination.

“If you’re claiming that you’re fully vaccinated, show some type of proof,” McNeill said. “If not, I cannot afford to take somebody’s word. If you don’t want to show it, simply wear your mask. Take it off when you get to your table to eat, and if you don’t want do either one, then I have to do what’s best for my company.”

After McNeill shared his decision on Facebook, The Raleigh Republican Club shared his post telling people to “eat somewhere else.” That’s when the nasty emails and calls began.

“People (were) trolling my business page leaving fake/false reviews, making claims I’m a Nazi and stuff like that,” McNeill said.

McNeill says he employs teenagers and people with underlying health conditions. He stands by his decision and believes it’s what’s best for his business.

“You go to the Carolina Hurricanes game, you still have to wear a mask; to Panera Bread, you still have to wear a mask, so we have other businesses bigger than me, they’re still requiring mask. I don’t see them getting bombarded or being trolled,” McNeill said.

WRAL News reached out to The Raleigh Republican Club for a comment several times by phone but did not get a call back.

McNeill says he’s also receiving a lot of support from his long-time customers and friends.

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