San Francisco on Thursday became the first major U.S. city requiring patrons and employees to provide proof of full vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, bars and entertainment venues.
The order from Mayor London Breed takes effect Aug. 20 for customers and Oct. 13 for staff, prohibiting residents from submitting negative Covid-19 test results as a substitute to vaccination. Breed’s directive also applies to select health-care personnel, including pharmacists, dentists and home health aides.
“Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely,” Breed said in a statement.
Under the order, anyone older than 12 must submit proof of vaccination to visit any indoor event with more than 1,000 guests. California previously only required attendees to get vaccinated for events with over 5,000 people, Breed’s statement said.
Breed noted the order entirely excludes individuals under the age of 12, who remain ineligible for all current Covid vaccines. Customers picking up food instead of dining inside are not required to get vaccinated either.
San Francisco County recorded a seven-day total of 1,708 new coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, a decrease of less than 3% from the prior week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But California reported a seven-day average of more than 12,000 new cases as of Wednesday, an increase of 24% from a week ago, Johns Hopkins University measured.
San Francisco joins New York City as one of the country’s largest municipalities with vaccine mandates for select indoor activities. New York City will start enforcing its mandate Sept. 13, when customers and staff must provide proof of having received at least one vaccine dose to exercise, eat at restaurants and access entertainment options inside.
San Francisco previously collaborated with six other Northern California counties in mandating facial coverings for indoor public places on Aug. 2, upgrading a mask recommendation they first issued in July.
Several Bay Area-based companies have ordered all or part of their staff to immunize against the coronavirus as well, including Google, Facebook and Gap. At least a dozen other major employers nationwide have enacted similar guidance as the delta variant continues to surge.