San Francisco is the first major U.S. city to require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for certain indoor activities, Mayor London Breed announced Thursday.
“Today’s announcement is about making sure everyone feels a little bit safer in our city, but more importantly, what we’re seeing now with this virus is very challenging and a great concern,” Breed said. “Starting August 20, you will need proof of a vaccination in businesses for your customers in high contact areas.”
High contact areas include bars, restaurants, theaters, entertainment venues, indoor gyms, fitness centers, and large indoor events with more than 1,000 people. In addition to requiring that customers show proof of vaccination, employees at such establishments must submit proof of full vaccination to employers by October 13.
“This is not about threatening the loss of a job, this is about a requirement that we expect people to comply with, and then we have the ability to take the appropriate action,” Breed said. “Whether or not we will move toward the termination component is yet to be determined.”
Breed did not specify what consequences employees or employers would face should they not comply with the vaccine mandate, though she did say “our goal is not to be heavy-handed with the enforcement.”
People under the age of 12 are not included in the vaccine mandate. Breed said her office would have to combat and “get to the bottom of” people who have religious exemptions for vaccines.
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio established the “Key To NYC” mandate, which requires proof of vaccination at indoor dining, entertainment, and fitness facilities. New York’s mandate requires proof that you’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine and is not applicable for unvaccinated people who need to enter essential public venues, like grocery stores.
San Francisco’s mandate is noticeably more draconian and will require proof of full vaccination for all customers and staff without exception. It is unclear whether individuals will need booster shots to classify as “fully” vaccinated.
The announcement comes the same week Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that all employees in public and private schools would have to show proof of vaccination or get tested for the virus weekly. Los Angeles is currently considering a vaccine mandate similar to New York’s that would require proof of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Breed said there was no determined end date for the requirement.