San Francisco and Berkeley to lift vaccination requirement for restaurants and gyms | California
(The Center Square) – With COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections declining across California, San Francisco officials announced that the city will no longer require individuals to present proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test. 19 negative to enter certain indoor public spaces from Friday.
According to updated guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, individuals will no longer be required to present proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers. Companies can, however, choose to impose stricter requirements, such as maintaining the existing requirement to present proof of vaccination.
The new orientation marks a transition for the city, which in August became the first in the country requiring individuals to show proof of vaccination before entering multiple indoor settings.
In a news release, officials said the policy was successful in limiting cases during the delta and omicron surges, but noted that current virus trends show the city is ready to ease some restrictions.
“With cases and hospitalizations continuing to decline and our high vaccination rate providing a strong defense against the virus, SF is ready to further reduce COVID-19 restrictions and allow individuals to make their own decisions to protect themselves and protect their loved ones,” health officer Dr. Susan Philip said in a statement. “Proof of vaccination and testing requirements have served their purpose in keeping these spaces as safe as possible for staff and customers.
“Rolling it back is part of coming out of crisis mode and learning to live with the virus.”
Berkeley public health officials also announced Wednesday that restaurants, gyms and indoor events will no longer be required to check patrons’ immunization status starting Friday. Businesses will have the ability to set stricter restrictions.
In one Press releasethe city said the shift in focus comes as the city sees a decline in serious illnesses and hospitalizations.
“Our COVID tools are creating a pathway to navigate the pandemic,” said City of Berkeley health officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez in a statement. “As this latest surge fades, the safe path widens but the risks have not gone away. Stay up to date on vaccinations by getting a reminder when you are eligible. If needed, use a surgical mask or better to protect yourself and others.”
A few other cities in the state, including Oakland and Los Angeles still require individuals to show proof of vaccination when entering indoor public spaces, although the City of Los Angeles may soon make changes to this requirement.
On Wednesday, members of the Los Angeles City Council voted to write an ordinance that would change city rules, which currently require establishments to check to see if their patrons are fully vaccinated, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The city’s guidelines, dubbed SafePass LA, were launched in November 2021. They require restaurants, bars, fitness centers, entertainment centers and personal care facilities to verify proof of vaccination.
The order, which will return to council for consideration at a later date, would void that mandate.
Just last week, LA County relaxed its own vaccine verification rules, which will no longer require operators to check customers’ vaccination status at outdoor mega-events with more than 10,000 people. and in the interior parts of restaurants, bars and lounges, according to a Press release County.
Vaccine verification or proof of a negative test requirements remain in effect for mega indoor events with more than 1,000 people per California Department of Public Health guidelines.
Los Angeles County also updated its masking guidelines on Friday, announcing it would no longer require but “strongly recommend” masking in indoor public places for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Some federal masking requirements for transport remain in place, however, as well as state mask mandates for healthcare facilities and other high-risk environments.
In a statement Friday, LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer noted that while transmission of COVID-19 has slowed, “there continue to be thousands of people whose lives, families and work are disrupted every day because they or someone close to them are newly infected and, for some, their infection will lead to serious illness.
“With fewer safety measures required, getting vaccinated and boosted provides both individual and community protection that can help protect those who remain vulnerable,” she said.