SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco became the first major city in the nation to Friday require proof of full COVID-19 vaccinations for people who dine in restaurants, work out in gyms or attend indoor concerts.
Restaurants and bars have posted signs and added extra staff to start checking people for proof of vaccinations before allowing them in.
“There’s definitely some anxiety about how this is all going to work out,” said Pete Sittnick, managing partner of Waterbar and EPIC Steak restaurants on the city’s waterfront.
He anticipates a slowdown in diner check-in, possible pushback from customers who disagree with the requirement, and awkward scenarios where someone shows up without proper documentation.
“The good thing is that if someone doesn’t have their vaccination certificate, they can still eat out. There is an option and we just have to be ready for different scenarios,” he said.
The Mayor of London Breed announced the requirement more than a week ago in a bid to stem rising COVID-19 cases, saying she was concerned the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus could disrupt the economic rebound of the city.
The mandate goes further than New York, which requires people to be at least partially inoculated for a variety of high-risk indoor activities, and New Orleans, which requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for eat or drink inside.
This follows a number of strict COVID-19 measures imposed by San Francisco since the start of the pandemic. The city and its neighboring Bay Area counties were the first in the nation to order residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and were the first major city in the nation to require all employees of the city are vaccinated. , without the ability to test regularly.
The majority of the city’s 36,000 employees reported being vaccinated, but about 4,300 were not. This week, the city sent letters recommending a 10-day unpaid suspension for 20 police, fire and sheriff’s department employees who refused to report their vaccination status by the Aug. 12 deadline, the report reported. San Francisco Chronicle.
Governor Gavin Newsom also had to tighten the rules after announcing the reopening of the California economy in June. He demanded that health care workers in the state get vaccinated to keep their jobs and that all teachers and workers in the state get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
Local business groups have backed the new vaccination mandate, saying it will protect the health of their employees and customers and prevent them from having to limit indoor capacity. Some businesses that had taken it upon themselves to check proof of vaccinations at the door said a citywide policy helps set clear expectations for all customers.
When Vegan Picnic announced in late July that it would only allow vaccinated customers, the grocery store quickly received one-star reviews on Yelp, including many from internet trolls who had never eaten there, and threats of appellants who viewed the requirement as a violation of their personal rights. and privacy, said owner Jill Ritchie.
“The phone was ringing with people yelling at us, and at the same time we had an outpouring of support from people saying, ‘Thank you, I feel safe going to your store,'” Ritchie said.
She said checking people’s vaccination status was easy and soon the computer software her company uses to process online orders and payments will handle the verification digitally and notify customers of the warrant in advance.
Online reservation systems such as OpenTable also notify diners of the rule when they respond, and companies that cater to the city’s tourism industry have launched a campaign called “Relax, We’re Vaxxed”. to spread the word to out-of-town visitors. .
City officials said a paper card issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a photo of the CDC card or a verified digital vaccine record will suffice. Proof of vaccination issued by foreign governments is also acceptable.
Pearce Cleaveland, co-owner of Temple nightclub, said its security guards had been trained to check all forms of evidence of vaccinations and had caught some people with forged copies of vaccination cards.
“We’ve had people get upset at the door when they’re turned away, but usually they get it,” he said. “It’s the tourists who are usually disappointed, when they are not aware of the obligation and cannot get vaccinated quickly enough.”
Workers have until October 13 to prove they are fully vaccinated and Cleaveland said it expects to meet compliance by then. The mandate does not apply to people who are not eligible for vaccines, including children under 12.
After a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the San Francisco Bay Area over the summer, the numbers appear to be stabilizing but remain high, said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francois.
He said the reinstated restrictions had helped slow the spread of the coronavirus. For example, after Los Angeles County reinstated a mask mandate for indoor businesses, the increase in daily COVID-19 cases slowed significantly in recent weeks, Chin-Hong said.
“There’s no magic bullet, just a combination of a hard stick and a soft stick,” he said. “The vaccination proof mandate is a soft stick because you can still eat out, but if you want to hang out with people indoors, you better get vaccinated.”