The mandate will go into effect August 20.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Thursday that customers and employees at restaurants and bars must show proof of vaccination prior to entry starting next week.
The mandate will go into effect August 20. Restaurant employees have until October 13 to be fully vaccinated. The requirement doesn't apply to customers who are ordering takeout or individuals who are not eligible to receive the vaccine, like those under 12 years old. The health order also applies to clubs, theaters and entertainment venues, as well as indoor gyms and other fitness establishments. Additionally, those attending events with 1,000 people or more must provide proof of vaccination. Previously, state and local rules required proof of vaccination or testing to attend indoor mega-events with 5,000 people or more.
“We know that for our city to bounce back from the pandemic and thrive, we need to use the best method we have to fight COVID-19 and that’s vaccines,” said Breed in a statement. “Many San Francisco businesses are already leading the way by requiring proof of vaccination for their customers because they care about the health of their employees, their customers, and this City. This order builds on their leadership and will help us weather the challenges ahead and keep our businesses open. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely.”
San Francisco’s current seven-day average caseload is 246, and the test positivity rate is 5.6 percent. During the winter surge in early 2021, the average was 373, and the positivity rate was 5.2 percent. As of August 8, 109 people were hospitalized, compared to 265 at the peak of the winter surge. In San Francisco, 85 percent of individuals 12 years and older have received one dose, while 78 percent are fully vaccinated, according to government data.
Prior to the city making the move, the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance, which represents 500 bars, said in late July that it’s requiring proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID test before entry. The policy was voluntary, but SF Bar Owner Alliance President Ben Bleiman said 85 percent of bar owners are in favor of vaccine mandates, according to a survey.
“Two weeks ago, we started requiring proof of vaccination to dine inside in an effort to ensure the safety of our staff and our customers. We are thrilled to see San Francisco move boldly to make this a citywide policy as we strongly believe this is the best way to get beyond this pandemic,” said Mat Shuster, chef/owner of Canela Bistro & Wine Bar, in a statement.
San Francisco is the second major market to mandate vaccines, following New York City. On August 3, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the "Key to NYC Pass," a new program that requires customers and employees to be vaccinated to be inside a restaurant, gyms, and various entertainment venues. Vaccination will be needed starting August 16, and enforcement of the new policy will begin September 13. Unvaccinated individuals will not have the option of showing a negative COVID test.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 to have city officials prepare guidelines around requiring individuals to show proof of vaccination for public indoor spaces.