San Francisco on Aug.12 became the first major U.S. city requiring full vaccination for patrons and employees to enter restaurants, gyms, bars, and entertainment venues.
The new order (pdf), announced by Mayor London Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax on Thursday, takes effect Aug. 20 for customers and Oct. 13 for staff and prevents residents from submitting negative COVID-19 test results as a substitute to vaccination.
In a press release, Breed said the directive “will require businesses in certain high-contact indoor sectors, such as those that serve food or drink like bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters and entertainment venues, as well as indoor gyms and other fitness establishments, to obtain proof of vaccination from their patrons and employees in order for them to go inside those facilities.”
It also applies to select health care personnel, including pharmacists, dentists, workers at adult day centers, residential care facilities, and home health aides who are not included in the state health order on vaccinations.
The order does not include individuals ordering or picking up food or drink to go. Businesses have “additional time” for staff until Oct. 13, 2021, to make sure they are compliant with the order.
Breed noted the order entirely excludes individuals under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for all current COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Health Order is designed to protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated, while keeping businesses open and helping to ensure schools remain open,” the Mayor said.
Announcing the new order on Thursday, Breed explained that the new mandate is being done to “protect kids and those who can’t get vaccinated” and to ensure the city doesn’t “go backwards” and return to a full lockdown.
“If we want to continue down this path, if we want to continue to open, to make sure that people are healthy, make sure we are protected, to make sure that we’re in a good place as a city from a public health perspective, so that our economy can really recover to its fullest extent, then we all have to do our part, we need to get vaccinated,” the mayor added.
San Franciso’s order is more stringent than the one announced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, which requires workers and patrons at some indoor businesses to show proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose for indoor activities, starting on Sept. 13
Earlier this month, San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties also announced that they were reinstating a mask mandate for all indoor public settings as COVID-19 infections surge because of the more contagious Delta variant.
The new mandate applies to everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, and took effect on Aug. 2 in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sonoma counties, as well as the city of Berkeley.
In a news conference announcing the new orders, Sundari Mase, the interim health officer for Sonoma County, which is north of San Francisco, said the Delta variant accounts for 95 percent of new coronavirus cases in the region.
“We are facing a much more aggressive and contagious opponent right now,” she said.
San Francisco’s current 7-day average daily cases is 246 and the test positivity rate is 5.6 percent. This is compared to the peak of the winter surge when daily cases averaged 373 and the test positivity rate was 5.2 percent. As of Aug. 8, 109 people were hospitalized, compared to 265 at the peak of the winter surge.
From The Epoch Times