Keeping up with the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape can be difficult, and the Delta variant seems to be escalating the timing for officials to get more guidelines in place. On August 12, 2021, there were some major changes made in San Francisco by the Department of Health, which will quickly go into effect. These updates were made to Health Order C19-07, also known as the “Safer Return Together Order.” The main new requirement is vaccination verification for both patrons 12 years and older and staff of certain indoor public settings. This new requirement will go into effect at 12:01a.m. on August 20, 2021.
Who is affected by this update?
This update adds the requirement of proof of vaccination of patrons and staff to two main types of businesses: (1) those businesses and events that serve food or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, and entertainment venues; and (2) indoor businesses where patrons currently must wear masks but may be participating in activities which result in elevated breathing, such as indoor gyms, yoga studios, recreation facilities, and other fitness establishments.
When does this new requirement go into effect?
Effective August 20, 2021, at 12:01a.m., all businesses subject to the new vaccination verification requirement must require all patrons aged 12 and up to show proof of full vaccination before entering the facility, with limited exceptions.
Businesses subject to this order must also “use their best efforts” to obtain vaccination verification of all staff members who routinely work onsite by August 20, 2021. These businesses must ensure that staff who routinely work onsite provide proof of full vaccination before entering any indoor portion of the facility. Businesses are encouraged to do this as soon as possible, but no later than 12:01a.m. on October 13, 2021.
What qualifies as “proof of vaccination” under this new requirement?
According to the San Francisco Department of Health, these are the current guidelines for proof of vaccination under Health Order C19-07:
–Proof of vaccination. Acceptable proof of vaccination includes the CDC vaccination card, a physical or digital copy or picture of that card, documentation from a healthcare provider, or a personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California or by an approved private company. Written self-attestation of vaccination status is not an acceptable form of proof for purposes of this requirement. Businesses subject to this new requirement must cross check proof of full vaccination against each patron’s photo identification.
–Limited exceptions. The vaccination verification requirement does not apply in the following situations:
-Businesses may allow patrons to use the outdoor portions of the business without vaccination verification.
-Businesses may allow patrons wearing a well-fitted mask to use a restroom indoors without vaccination verification.
-Businesses that serve food or drink “to-go” may allow individuals wearing a well-fitted mask to order, pick up, or pay for food or drink without vaccination verification.
–Advance verification option. Businesses may verify vaccination status in advance of the patron’s arrival as long as they confirm identification when the patron enters the facility.
What else does this update to the Health Order include?
The update to Health Order C19-07, or the “Safer Return Together Order,” addresses various other situations, such “mega-events”, a new category of large indoor events, outdoor large events, personnel in high-risk settings, and employees in health care facilities.
For full details, including employer notice requirements, you can read the entire update here.
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