SAN FRANCISCO >> Concerned that the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus could wipe out San Francisco’s economic recovery, Mayor London Breed announced Thursday that the city had evidence of full vaccination in indoor restaurants, bars, and gyms Entertainment venues will require to keep business open.
“This is to protect the children, to protect those who cannot get vaccinated, to make sure we don’t go backwards, to make sure that I never have to stand up in front of you and say, ‘I'” Sorry, I know we’ve just reopened and now the city is closed again because too many people are dying, “said Breed.
The mandate will be stricter than announced last week by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. San Francisco requires proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination for all customers and employees, while New York requires proof of at least one dose for indoor activities.
It goes into effect on August 20, but companies still have two months to review employees’ vaccination status “to keep jobs while giving time to comply”. The mandate does not apply to individuals who are ineligible for vaccines, including children under the age of 12.
In addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s paper cards that people receive when they are vaccinated, California has set up an online record with a barcode that people who have been vaccinated can use to prove their status. Breed said a photo of the CDC card was sufficient and it was up to companies to enforce the requirement. Vaccination certificates from foreign governments are also permitted.
The aim is to increase the vaccination rate in a city where 78% of the eligible population are already fully vaccinated, she said. San Francisco was among the first to ban large gatherings and shut schools at the start of the pandemic, and was on the forefront of other COVID-19 restrictions, including a requirement to vaccinate all city employees without the option of regular testing.
Los Angeles is considering a similar vaccination requirement, with people needing at least one dose before visiting indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and other venues. The leaders there voted on Wednesday to ask the city’s lawyers to work out the details.
On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said all public and private school workers in California are required to provide proof of vaccination or weekly tests.
Breed announced the mandate Thursday at the historic Vesuvio Cafe in North Beach, a favorite haunt of beat poets. The cafe is one of many San Francisco companies that already require a vaccination card indoors.
“Most people were really happy that we started politics. It took patience from everyone. The people who were impatient or didn’t like the policy just walked away, ”said Vesuvio co-owner Janet Clyde.
“The weight of the government in the back, science, the Ministry of Health” makes enforcement easier, she said.
Bar owners who are already struggling to find enough staff want to protect their employees and stay open, said Ben Bleiman, president of the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance.
He said he was forced to close his bar one night after the bartender got infected on another job.
A group representing nearly 100 gyms said the mandate would help avoid the capacity limits or further possible closures that had hurt their businesses over the past year.
“We support the city’s indoor fitness vaccine requirement as it provides our customers with further reassurance that they can experience the mental and physical benefits of fitness in a safe, healthy environment,” said Dave Karraker, board member of San Francisco Independent Fitness Studio Coalition.
Thursday’s ordinance also expands vaccination requirements for certain health care providers, including daycare workers, dormitories, dental offices, home health workers, and pharmacists who are not covered by the state vaccination health ordinance.