San Francisco city leaders urged people to comply with the city’s new vaccine mandate for patrons and employees at several indoor businesses as the order went into effect Friday.
Last week, Breed announced the new city health order, which requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entering indoor bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, entertainment venues, and gyms.
The order also requires proof of vaccination for people ages 12 and up at indoor events with 1,000 people or more.
The order aims to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while keeping the city’s businesses open despite a recent surge in cases.
“What we’re seeing now with this delta variant is like nothing we’ve seen before and it could be a lot worse if we never even had a vaccine,” Mayor London Breed said, speaking at Energy, Health, Strength Pilates Studio on Valencia Street.
“I don’t want to keep saying that we need to implement health orders, I want us to be free to do all the things we did even before this pandemic existed. But I also have a responsibility. When I look at the data, when I look at what’s happening in San Francisco and other parts of the country, I think about what we need to do, and our goal is beat back this virus once again,” she said. “If they ask you to show proof, please just comply.”
“This is about the delta surge right now, it could be about the next variant to surge next, so getting vaccinated is so, so important. We’re not only worried about the suffering from this fourth surge, but we need to do everything thing we can to ensure that this city is as open as possible,” San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. “This is navigating our new normal.”
In order to assist San Francisco businesses with enforcing the order, the city’s Office of Economic Workforce and Development has set up resources for businesses, including help with signage and training for employees on how to check for vaccination proof. The resources can be found at https://oewd.org/.
“So much of the responsibility to move us forward lies on the backs of our small businesses, and the leadership of our small businesses,” said OEWD Director Kate Sofis. “Places where you take off your mask to eat or drink and places like gyms and Pilates studios where you leave your mask on but you’re breathing more heavily, these are really the two circumstances that the science shows there’s a higher risk of transmission and that is why we’re focusing on these businesses.”
The new order comes as the city is also requiring city employees to disclose their vaccination status. On Thursday, the city’s Department of Human Resources disclosed data that showed 88 percent of the city’s more than 36,000 employees reported being vaccinated, while 10 percent reported being unvaccinated, and 2 percent did not report at all.
Breed said, so far, some employees have been disciplined with suspensions for not disclosing their status.
“We have required at this time that everyone at least report what their vaccination status is, and we’re talking about a very small number of people that have been suspended, and we have been prepared for that,” she said.
“We are not going to deviate from our requirement that every city employee is vaccinated, because not only does it impact the people that they work with, it impacts the public that they work with. So, we want to do our part as a city to protect the public and will continue to take the appropriate steps necessary to do just that,” Breed said.