SOME FEAR: Despite his trepidation, Lyle Weksler of Mike’s Coffee Shop in Clinton Hill is welcoming the lifting of pandemic restrictions for restaurants. “Business-wise, I’m looking forward to it,” he says. (Rachael Robertson)

BROOKLYN–New Yorkers had to flash vaccine cards to gain entry to bars and restaurants for nearly a year. Now, restaurants can choose whether to require proof of vaccination.

The city’s loosening of COVID-19 protocols has stirred mixed emotions. Fewer restrictions are a sign that the pandemic may be fading. Yet lifting masking and vaccination requirements remove a measure many had come to appreciate.

“I believe it’s time to move along and get things going,” says Lyle Weksler, a co-owner of Mike’s Coffee Shop on DeKalb Avenue in Clinton Hill. “I’m not 100% comfortable with it, I gotta tell you that. But business-wise, I’m looking forward to it.” 

Meanwhile, a mile away at  750 Myrtle Diner, not much will change.

Owner and chef Kaoru Ayabe had pivoted from indoor dining to takeout and grocery to stay afloat.

 “So now it’s not a restaurant anymore,” Ayabe says. “It’s a grocery store.”

Rachael Robertson has this audio report.