Newport Beach

No COVID Vaccination Card? You Won't Be Allowed to Enter This Newport Beach Boutique

There are critics, but the way store owner Deborah Nguyen sees it, it’s a way to keep people safe.

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The gate outside Bohemia on the Balboa Peninsula is locked tight. Customers must be buzzed in and they will only be allowed to peruse the designer eyewear and imported clothing if they can prove they’ve been vaccinated.

The way store owner Deborah Nguyen sees it it’s a way to keep people safe.

"If I do the right thing the community will eventually support me," she said. "I've been here 15 years. I'm not going to go out of business."

Customer Gina Zedeck knew the rules before she ever set foot inside this store.

"I didn’t have a problem," she said. "I had been vaccinated. I had seen bars. Restaurants would start doing that so I didn’t have a problem with it."

Nguyen admits her vaccine card requirement, which she has the legal right to enforce, is costing her business. And there have been critics. Some on Yelp calling her policy disgusting and discriminatory. She says there were verbal threats from people who were refused entry, which she reported to police.

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"I would have a bit of a pause," said Josh Sherod, a tourist. "I don't carry it like a passort, don’t carry it now."

But Thais Campbell, also a tourist, thinks differently.

"I feel safer if I can show them my vaccine," Campbell said. "I think most in California are vaccinated, I don’t care if I have to show or not."

For now Nguyen is keeping most of her plexiglass barriers in place, but not all.

"I think rights are important but you have the right not to shop there," said Clara DaGostino, a resident.

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