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Owner of Norfolk's Naro theater says he's not ready to mandate vaccines after Pfizer's FDA approval

The Naro Expanded Cinema shut down for several months due to COVID-19 concerns. The owner says a vaccine mandate isn't the best for business right now.

NORFOLK, Va. — President Joe Biden is encouraging business owners across the nation to require people to be vaccinated. This new push comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer vaccine Monday.

However, business owners say it's not a simple task. Even with the FDA's official approval, the owner of the Naro Expanded Cinema movie theater, Thom Vourlas, said you risk losing customers.

"It's hard to turn down business when business is not that good," said Vourlas. 

The Naro had to close down for almost 15 months during the pandemic and made a comeback earlier this summer. He said his business highly encourages people to get vaccinated, but he won't turn anyone away if they don't.

"I think that would more or less come from the governor's office or the federal government. We probably wouldn't do it on our own," said Vourlas. "We can spread people out easily in the theater."

The Naro and other businesses in Norfolk's Ghent neighborhood say because not all three of the vaccines are fully approved by the FDA, many of them are sticking to the honor system and trusting their customers to keep their businesses safe.

As of right now, the Pfizer vaccine is also the only one with any sort of authorization for children and teenagers ages 12 to 18. 

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still waiting for full FDA approval.