San Francisco to require proof of COVID vaccine for indoor activities at restaurants, bars, gyms


Jay Esopenko, owner of the cheese, wine and charcuterie bar Union Larder, wears a face mask while being interviewed during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Esopenko said the entire staff at Union Larder has been laid off, and he hopes to reopen when social distancing rules are no longer in effect. California is recommending restaurants screen guests for symptoms, have servers wear masks and keep diners at least 6 feet apart to prevent the spread of the coronavirus once they reopen. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco will require residents and visitors to prove that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for a number of indoor activities such as visiting restaurants, bars, and gyms, Mayor London Breed announced Thursday.

Watch live on KRONon at 11 a.m.

The order will require businesses to verify vaccination status prior to entry. This goes into effect on August 20.

Proof of vaccination will be required for all customers and staff. Staff will need to be fully vaccinated by October 13.

The requirement does not include people ordering takeout, Breed clarifies. It also does not apply to people who are ineligible to be vaccinated, which means kids under the age of 12.

Fully vaccinated means the person has received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s not all the new health order includes, however.

There is also a new proof of vaccination requirement for large events at indoor venues, requiring attendees at events with 1,000 people or more to provide proof of vaccination. 

“The health order also extends vaccination requirements to certain health care providers—including workers at adult day centers, residential care facilities, dental offices, home health aides and pharmacists—who are not already required. This goes into effect October 13,” Breed said.

San Francisco is reportedly the first major U.S. city to enforce proof of full vaccination to receive services at indoor businesses. New York City recently began enforcing a similar requirement, but businesses there only need proof of one dose.

If you have a cell phone and were vaccinated in California, the state has a way to access your vaccination card digitally so you don’t need to carry the paper copy. Click here to get your digital COVID-19 vaccine record.

Before the announcement, hundreds of bars and restaurants were already checking vaccination cards and supported the idea of showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry. 

As COVID-19 cases surge again, no business wants to deal with extended shut downs like we saw over the past year.

“We are issuing these new health requirements because indoor, public settings where people congregate in close quarters, often with their masks off, are a main way that the virus spreads,” said Acting Health Officer, Dr. Naveena Bobba. “With the increased COVID-19 case rates, we need everybody who is eligible for a vaccine to get one now.” 

Already, COVID-19 cases among restaurant staff has caused some owners to temporarily close or limit service to outdoor dining.

Health officials say most of the new COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated people. There are also reports of ‘breakthrough‘ cases, where fully vaccinated people also contract the virus. The CDC says these breakthrough cases are expected and account for a very small minority of all new cases.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.


According to data from the city of San Francisco, 71% of the city’s eligible residents are fully vaccinated as of August 11.

Statewide, 63.8% of Californians are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.

See the breakdown of vaccinated California counties:

People who prove full vaccination will still need to keep a face mask on while inside public spaces, in line with a previous order.

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