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The Grill at Smucker’s in Reading Terminal Market will close on the eve of Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate

The Amish merchant said, "I have to get away from these mandates."

Moses Smucker, owner of The Grill at Smucker's in Reading Terminal Market, in January 2015.
Moses Smucker, owner of The Grill at Smucker's in Reading Terminal Market, in January 2015.Read moreFILE PHOTOGRAPH

Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate, due to take effect Jan. 3, calls on businesses that sell food or drink for onsite consumption to require that everyone who enters has gotten all their shots.

Not Moses Smucker.

On New Year’s Eve, he will close his business, the Grill at Smucker’s, a breakfast-and-lunch counter at Reading Terminal Market known for 12 years for its pot roast sandwiches and bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches.

Food courts in Philadelphia such as Reading Terminal Market are included in the mandate.

On Jan. 3, the market plans to cordon off its center-court seating area and to station an employee to check for proof of vaccine, a representative said. Individual restaurants, such as Molly Malloy’s, will check at their doors. Most stands had closed their counter seating earlier in the pandemic. Food shoppers can shop regardless of vaccination status.

“I have to get away from all these mandates,” said Smucker, 70, who started the stand as his “retirement job.”

Before joining the Old Order Amish section at the historic market, he operated a harness shop on Route 23 in Churchtown for 38 years, providing tack for a who’s who of clients, including the Budweiser Clydesdales and the horses of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Asked if he had family to continue the stand, he replied: “They’re all too smart to be in this business.”