On August 12, 2021, the City of San Francisco revised its Health Order C19-07y (the "Order") to mandate certain San Francisco businesses and operations verify proof of vaccination of its staff and patrons in response to the surge of cases caused by the COVID-19 delta variant.
Who does this apply to?
The revised Order requires: (1) businesses and events that serve food or drink indoors (e.g., dining establishments, bars, clubs, theaters, and entertainment venues); (2) gyms, recreation facilities, yoga studios, and other fitness establishments; and (3) indoor events with 1,000+ person attendance, to verify patrons 12 years of age and older are fully vaccinated prior to entering the business' or event's indoor facilities starting August 20, 2021, ascertain the vaccination status of staff by August 20, 2021, and ensure staff who routinely work onsite are fully vaccinated before entering or working in any indoor portion of the facility by October 13, 2021, with limited exceptions and subject to applicable federal, state, or local laws requiring accommodations.
The Order also expands proof of full vaccination requirements to personnel working in adult care facilities, adult day programs licensed by the California Department of Social Services, dental offices, home health care settings, and pharmacies unless eligible for an exemption otherwise. The Order also aligns with California's mandate for employees in health care facilities, such as acute care facilities (e.g., hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and psychiatric hospitals), adult day health care centers, programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly, congregate living health facilities, chemical dependency recovery hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient care, dialysis centers, hospice facilities, pediatric day health and respite care facilities, and residential substance use treatment and mental health treatment facilities to be vaccinated by September 30, 2021.
What are acceptable proofs of vaccination?
CDC vaccination card (e.g., physical copy, digital copy, or picture), documentation from a healthcare provider, or a personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California or an approved private company. Written self-attestations are not acceptable. Businesses must cross check the proof of vaccination with each patron's photo identification. Businesses may verify vaccination status in advance of a patron's arrival, but still must confirm identification of the patron when the patron enters the facility.
Is there required signage?
Businesses subject to the vaccination verification requirement must post signage for both patrons and staff informing them that proof of vaccination is required to enter indoor portions of the facility. San Francisco's Department of Public Health ("DPH") is making available two new template signs for covered businesses to post regarding these vaccination verification requirements.
What are the limited exceptions?
Businesses do not need to verify proof of vaccination for patrons using outdoor portions of the business, using indoor restrooms if wearing a well-fitted mask, and purchasing or picking up food and drinks "to-go" if wearing a well-fitted mask. With respect to staff, individuals who enter or work in a business on an intermittent basis, occasional basis, or for short periods of time are not required to show proof of vaccination. Fitness establishments and activities that are part of a K-12 school or operate as a program for children and youth are covered by separate sector-specific directives and are not subject to the new verification requirement of Health Order C19-07y. The new requirement also does not apply to multi-household indoor events in private residences.
What about large indoor and outdoor events?
The revised Order no longer permits negative COVID-19 tests or self-attestation of vaccination as an alternative to proof of vaccination for attendees of indoor events with 1,000+ person attendance. Children under 12 may attend such events if they comply with indoor mask requirements. The vaccination requirements also apply to performers and staff at these events, with a limited exception for visiting performers and staff if they satisfy certain COVID-19 safety precautions, such as negative testing, masking when not performing, and distancing from members of the public. Presently, there are no vaccination requirements for attendees of outdoor events with 5,000+ person attendance.
Please note this post addresses only the new additions and updates to Health Order C19-07y and is not intended to encompass the entirety of the Health Order. Please click here for a complete copy of the updated Health Order C19-07y. Businesses and individuals with questions should contact experienced counsel for guidance on new policies and practices.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.