The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) and other groups have teamed up for a multi-city initiative to vaccinate tens of thousands of hospitality workers across the state. Industry workers can sign up via the links on the program website: txhospitalityvaccines.com.
The vaccine drive will kick off in Houston on Monday, April 19 and Tuesday, April 20 for a clinic at the Smart Financial Centre. The clinic will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Memorial Hermann Health System will serve as the vaccine administrator with support given by Fertitta Entertainment and the Houston Rockets. Memorial Hermann will administer approximately 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine (6,000 per day) to individuals ages 16 and older.
“There is an urgency to vaccinate our restaurant workers who are serving guests every day in the dining rooms of Texas,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of TRA. “In addition to the resolute precautions taken by restaurants, a vaccine against COVID-19 will provide one more level of protection for our employees. We are thankful for the tremendous support shown by like-minded organizations, sports teams, hospitals, and other partners who are committed to helping our industry’s best asset – its people.”
“I have thousands of employees across the Houston area who are serving on the front lines every day and their safety remains a top priority as we continue to navigate through this pandemic,” said Tilman Fertitta, owner of Landry’s, Inc. and the Houston Rockets. “Now that vaccine eligibility has opened up across Texas, this opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot is an important added safety measure that helps all hospitality industry employees feel safe and comfortable as we continue to welcome more and more guests back inside our restaurants.”
“Memorial Hermann has a long-standing relationship with the Houston Rockets and we are thrilled to join forces with them and the TRA to provide a #ShotofHope for our city’s hard-working hospitality employees,” said Cole Kaleta, Associate Vice President of Operations and Vaccine Distribution at Memorial Hermann. “These essential workers provide such important services for our community, and often their roles require them to come into close contact with others, so we want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to keep them – and those around them – as safe and healthy as possible by protecting them against COVID-19.”
Vaccine supply is limited so appointments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and walk-ins will not be accommodated. Individuals must present photo identification that matches the name and date of birth on the appointment confirmation.
The next hospitality vaccine clinic will take place in San Antonio on April 27 and 28 at the Wonderland of the Americas shopping center. University Health System will administer 6,000 doses (3,000 per day) of the Pfizer vaccine. The clinic will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.
“We are tremendously pleased to be partnering with the Texas Restaurant Association to make it as easy as possible for these critically important front-line workers to get protection from the virus,” said University Health executive vice president for marketing communications and corporate affairs Leni Kirkman. “We applaud the association for this statewide initiative that will not only ‘put shots’ in a lot of arms, but also make restaurants safer for employees and patrons. Partnerships like this are critically important to University Health’s ongoing efforts to do everything we can to put an end to this pandemic.”
Many groups are lending their support to spread the word of the vaccine drive for hospitality workers, including the Texas Food & Wine Alliance, Good Work Austin, and the Southern Smoke Foundation.
“We’re so grateful for the incredible support we all receive from our statewide hospitality community and are thrilled to partner with TRA and Good Work Austin to ensure our hospitality workers in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio have this opportunity to receive vaccinations as soon as possible,” said Mariam Parker, Executive Director of the Texas Food and Wine Alliance.
“After the worst year in the history of the restaurant community, it’s incredibly exciting to see workers finally getting the resources we need to protect ourselves,” said Chef Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie in Austin. “I am grateful to all of the people who have stepped up to organize and support this effort to help a highly vulnerable population.”
Dates and location for Austin and Dallas clinics are forthcoming. Additional details, vaccine information, and links to sign up can be found at TXHospitalityVaccines.com.