- San Francisco will require businesses in high-contact indoor settings, including bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters and entertainment venues, to require proof of full vaccination from customers and employees to allow them to enter the facility, according to a Thursday announcement from San Francisco Mayor London Breed's office. The order also includes gyms and other fitness establishments.
- The health order will go into effect on Aug. 20 for patrons and Oct. 14 for employees. It will not apply to people picking up food or drinks to go.
- San Francisco's requirement comes just over a week after New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a similar vaccine mandate for indoor dining, which will be enforced beginning Sept. 13. NYC requires proof of at least one dose. Los Angeles County is also considering a similar mandate.
While 78% of San Francisco’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, its seven-day average daily cases is 246 and positivity rate is 5.6%. Even though this is less than the winter surge when daily cases averaged 373, cases have been surging during the summer, and it has one of the highest rates of coronavirus cases in the Bay Area. The city, which fully reopened businesses on June 15, wants to maintain the momentum of economic recovery it has seen in the last few months, the press release said.
Prior to the order, many San Francisco bars and restaurants were already requiring proof of vaccinations as a way to protect employees and customers.
"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," Mat Shuster, chef and owner of Canela Bistro & Wine Bar, said in the press release.
The new wave of vaccine mandates puts restaurants again at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. Last year, many were subject to enforcing indoor masking policies, which led to increased harassment of restaurant workers. Now as many mask mandates return, the same issues arise.
But views of safety mandates could be changing. Despite reports of negative reviews and feedback from people who don't support vaccine mandates, only 37% of U.S. residents said they are comfortable visiting restaurants that do not demand proof of vaccination, according to Piplsay research. Yelp and OpenTable have also increased efforts to create more transparency on restaurant pages so patrons know what types of vaccine and mask mandates are in place at establishments, which could help decrease the number of customers caught unaware of the policy.
San Francisco's order excludes anyone under the age of 12, but everyone aged 2 and older are required to comply with applicable indoor mask mandates under local and state health rules.