Starting Thursday, patrons of some 500 bars in in San Francisco will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter.
That’s according to a decision by the members of the SF Bar Owner Alliance, which was announced Monday.
“The SF Bar Owner Alliance is extremely concerned by a recent uptick in cases of COVID-19 among our staff members, especially those who are fully vaccinated,” the group said in a statement, which was shared on Twitter. “We believe we are obligated to protect our workers and their families and to offer a safe space for customers to relax and socialized.”
Guests who cannot present proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative coronavirus test are allowed to sit outside, the statement said.
It will be up to individual bars how best to enforce the new policy, the group said.
While individual establishments around the country have been requiring proof of vaccination to enter, this appears to be the first coordinated effort by a large group of bars or restaurants.
“This decision is based solely on our need to protect our workers, customers, and their families,” the group said. “However, we hope it might also influence some who have not yet received vaccinations to do so as soon as they are able.”
The move comes as COVID cases are surging in the U.S., a function of slowing vaccination rates and the increased spread of the highly virulent Delta variant of the disease.
As of Sunday, just 49.1% of Americans had been fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 48 states, rates of new COVID infections rose by at least 10% last week, according to CNN.
New Orleans recently instituted an indoor mask advisory, calling on everyone—regardless of vaccination status—to wear masks indoors when with people not in their immediate households. And Los Angeles County recently reimposed masking requirements inside restaurants and other public spaces, following a similar advisory in Las Vegas.
“We understand that the only way our society (and our businesses) can ever return to true normalcy is through higher rates of vaccinations among our residents, not just in San Francisco but across the United States of America,” the SF Bar Owner Alliance said.
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