San Francisco announced strict restrictions on unvaccinated residents, banning them from many indoor and outdoor gatherings, even if they can prove they tested negative for COVID-19.
The mandates, which go into effect on August 20, are in place to safeguard the city’s economic rebound as cases of the Delta variant continue their sharp uptick in California, leaders announced.
“This is to protect kids, is to protect those who can’t get vaccinated, is to make sure that we don’t go backwards, is to make sure that I never have to get up in front of you and say, ‘I’m sorry, I know we just reopened and now the city is closed again because we are seeing too many people die,’ ” Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, said Thursday.
Under the order, San Francisco — which has consistently imposed some of the nation’s strictest measures to counter the virus — will demand proof of full vaccination for customers and staff at indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues — including concerts and sporting events.
Employees will have a two month grace period to get vaccinated “to preserve jobs while giving time for compliance,” officials said. The rule will not apply to children 12 and under, and others who are ineligible for vaccination.
Residents and visitors will be able to provide gatekeepers their CDC paper COVID-19 passports, or use California’s online records. It will be up to businesses to enforce the rule.
Seventy-eight percent of San Fran’s population is already fully vaccinated, but officials hope the new program will drive that rate higher.
The announcement was made at the historic Vesuvio Cafe, which had already been requiring customers to prove they were vaccinated.
“Most people were really happy that we had started the policy. It took patience on everyone’s part. So, the people who were impatient or didn’t like the policy would just leave,” Vesuvio co-owner Janet Clyde said.
“Having the weight of the government behind you, the science, the health department” makes it easier to enforce, she said.
Groups representing bars and fitness studios said they supported the mandate, which they hoped would avoid another revenue-gutting citywide lockdown, however last week San Francisco’s sheriff’s union threatened that a number of deputies would quit or retire early if forced to get the jab.
The Golden City’s rules are more strict than New York City’s “Key to NYC Pass,” announced last week, as it became the first major US city to create a vaccination mandate. The NYC plan will mandate proof of one dose, not full vaccination.
Los Angeles is considering a measure similar to New York’s — with one dose needed to enter many venues.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday all California public and private school employees will have to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests.
With AP wires
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