San Francisco is the first major city in the United States to require proof of full vaccination to enter most indoor business establishments. The requirement will compound the city’s pre-existing mask mandate.
On Thursday, the city announced that businesses “in certain high-contact indoor sectors” like restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment venues, and gyms, will require proof from eligible patrons for entry. Patrons must provide evidence that they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to be permitted inside.
According to San Francisco district supervisor Matt Haney, the requirement for proof of full vaccination will start on August 20, and only applies to those who wish to be seated or use the services inside the businesses. It does not apply to anyone ordering or picking up meals to go. The rule also exempts children under the age of 12, who remain ineligible to receive any COVID vaccine.
According to the Daily Wire, the health order is more stringent than New York City’s policy, which is to be enforced next month. Unlike San Francisco, New York City will only require patrons to be partially vaccinated, meaning people with one shot will not be denied entry.
“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,” stated San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s office.
“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,” the statement added. “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.”
“In this phase of the pandemic, we must optimize the powerful tool of vaccines to protect us as we fully reopen to business,” said SF Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax. “These past few weeks have demonstrated how important it is that everyone eligible is vaccinated as we resume normal activities.”
Following the announcement, Breed took to calling on residents to be “patient with each other and try to lead with empathy.”
“There will be challenges with this transition and we expect people will do their best to comply, as businesses and residents have done with our previous public health orders,” she said.