Outdoor dining in Chinatown, San Francisco. (Courtesy of Travis Wise, wikimediacommons.com)

San Francisco will lift its proof of vaccination requirement Friday for a handful of indoor businesses including restaurants, bars and gyms.

The city’s public health officials argued that declining local COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and the city’s high vaccination rate make it unnecessary to require proof of vaccination or a negative test inside businesses where people eat and drink and where people breathe heavier while they exercise.

Roughly 83 percent of all San Francisco residents have completed their initial vaccination series while the city is confirming an average of 12.6 cases per day per 100,000 residents.

“San Francisco is ready to further reduce COVID-19 restrictions and allow individuals to make their own decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip said.

The city has required proof of vaccination or a negative test for indoor dining, gyms and other businesses since August 2021, when the virus’ delta variant spurred a fast rise in cases.

City officials said individual businesses are still welcome to implement their own proof of vaccination requirements if they deem it necessary.

The use of a mask indoors is also still strongly recommended to prevent the virus’ spread.

Under state guidelines, people will still be required to prove their full vaccination status or show a recent negative test to attend indoor events of 1,000 attendees or more.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which advocates for San Francisco’s restaurant industry, welcomed the city lifting its vaccination requirements, noting that it aligns the city’s public health guidance with that of the state.

“This move to return to a more normal dining experience is a welcome step for our hard-hit hospitality industry, which relies not only on residents but also on business travelers and many leisure tourists from outside the Bay Area,” the GGRA said in a statement.

Residents are still encouraged to get vaccinated and, if eligible, an additional booster dose to increase protection against developing serious illness or dying because of the virus.

In addition, proof of vaccination is still required under state health guidance for workers in industries with a high risk of spreading the virus, including health care workers and teachers.