Hundreds of bars in San Francisco will begin requiring proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 tests from customers who wish to stay inside businesses while they drink, an industry group said on Monday.
The measure, which was prompted by a recent increase in cases among fully vaccinated bar workers, will go into effect Thursday, the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance said in a statement.
Immunization cards or results of tests completed within 72 hours will not be required from clients seated outside.
“We believe we have an obligation to protect our workers and their families and to provide a safe space for customers to relax and socialize,” the statement said.
The group, which represents around 500 San Francisco bar owners, said they interviewed their members before announcing the decision. Eighty-five percent of them agreed with the move, NBC Bay Area reported.
Each bar will be responsible for determining how best to apply the new rules, the alliance said.
The highly contagious delta variant is spreading in parts of the United States, filling hospitals and alarming public health officials, especially in areas with low vaccination rates.
Nearly three-quarters of San Francisco are fully vaccinated, and the Mayor of London Breed said last week that of the 1,800 people hospitalized with the disease since December, only six had been vaccinated.
Experts have said that these severe “breakthrough” cases are rare, with most of them producing only mild or no symptoms.
Still, data from the city’s health department shows an increase in the number of cases overall, with an average of 10 new cases per day last month, rising to 118 last week.
Breed applauded the alliance’s announcement, saying it was a responsible move that will help protect employees and customers. Breed said last week that all city workers will need proof of vaccination before returning to work, an announcement echoed Monday for state employees and all healthcare workers by the California governor Gavin Newsom.