Vaccine proof is being required to dine in at San Francisco restaurants as the city lays down the strictest vaccine mandates in the United States.

In mid-August of 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the mandate – public venues including restaurants, bars, gyms, and large gatherings like concerts or performances are required to verify vaccine status of people they admit, checking vaccination cards.

“This is not a punishment,” Breed said. “It’s really about a chance to try and get us moving in the right direction and keeping people safe.”

Seventy-nine percent of the eligible population of San Francisco is already vaccinated, making it one of the most vaccinated cities in the country. Breed hopes that the new mandate will help encourage the holdouts to take the responsible step.

The week of August 16, 2021, San Francisco also issued recommendations that all public servants who decline to be vaccinated be given a 10-day suspension without pay, which is meant to be punitive. The city mandated back in June 2021 that all public servants needed to be vaccinated by August 12, 2021, along with all healthcare workers and all teachers.

Many businesses, especially gyms, were already enforcing similar vaccine proof policies of their own, and appreciate the support of the city mandate.

“We tested systems in place to see how we would do it, we were talking to our customers, getting our staff prepared, and we are so thrilled to have the full-throated support of the leadership of our city so we can confidently walk into this new landscape together,” said Tracey Sylvester, the owner of a downtown Pilates studio.

San Francisco saw a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases beginning in mid-July, going from a rolling average of 12-15 cases a day to 70 essentially overnight. The city’s numbers have leveled off from a peak of 172 new cases a day the week of August 9, 2021, a pandemic high, but cases are still high.

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