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Is San Francisco’s new vaccine mandate authorized? Right here’s the evaluation

San Francisco announced vaccination requirements for some indoor gatherings Thursday, asking the question, is this legal?

From August 20th, you must first show proof of vaccination when entering a bar, restaurant, gym, or indoor area where food and drink are served. San Francisco was the first major city to require a full vaccination against such activities. The order does not apply to anyone ordering takeaway food or drinks, or to children under 12 who are unsuitable for the vaccines.

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a law professor at UC Hastings who sits on the Vaccine Working Group on Ethics and Policy, said San Francisco’s latest health ordinance appears to meet legal requirements.

Jurisdictions can mandate vaccines for as long as can be reasonably expected. This is a finding from Jacobson v Massachusetts, a 1905 Supreme Court case that upheld states’ powers to enforce vaccine mandates. The San Francisco rule, formulated in the context of increasing cases, does not apply to children under the age of 12, maintains personal school attendance, and allows religious and medical exemptions.

The mandate is similar to that in New York City, which issued requirements last week to prove that customers had at least one dose of a vaccine.

But despite the nationwide history of vaccine needs, that type of mandate is new to experts like Rubinstein Reiss. Many companies may have been afraid to enforce vaccination restrictions without placing responsibility on the city, she said. However, some businesses and customers may wish to bring legal actions based on undue encumbrances or civil liberties.

“I think we’ve never seen that before,” said Rubinstein Reiss. “Before COVID-19, I was not aware of any such mandate. I assume that we will see litigation. “

Some companies started asking for proof of vaccination in July to prevent further closures and give customers a sense of security. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce welcomed the idea, as did the San Francisco Independent Fitness Studio Coalition on the Thursday following Breed’s enactment.

“It gives our customers an added reassurance that they can experience the mental and physical benefits of fitness in a safe and healthy environment,” said Dave Karraker, board member of the coalition that represents small gyms. “We believe that whatever can be done to avoid the capacity limits or the complete shutdown of indoor fitness that we have seen over the past year is in the best interests of all, especially the small businesses in the neighborhood who have suffered so badly since the beginning of the pandemic. “

San Francisco requires that all city workers be vaccinated once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full approval. The San Francisco Unified School District, urged by its unions, will also require that staff be vaccinated or regularly tested. The City College of San Francisco will require proof of vaccination starting October 1st.

“Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic and our way back to a life where we can be safe together,” Mayor London Breed told Thursday. “Many companies in San Francisco are already pioneering the need to provide proof of vaccination for their customers because they care about the health of their employees, their customers, and this city. This mandate builds on their leadership role and will help us meet the challenges ahead and keep our business open. “

However, students in K-12 schools are different. The federal government isn’t allowed to enforce vaccination regulations, but since the 1970s all 50 states have largely implemented school vaccination regulations for polio, measles, and other diseases.

But today at least nine states, including Arizona and Arkansas, have already passed or enacted laws banning coronavirus vaccine mandates. There’s also the fact that vaccines are currently approved under an emergency license and not all children are eligible. While emergency mandates prove viable, school institutions and jurisdictions may not want to fight the same battle over and over again.

“It was always a fight,” said Rubenstein Reiss. But today: “We have a problem with people who have different political views and different sources of information. [Some] People don’t like vaccination regulations. “


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