Hundreds of San Francisco bars to require vaccination or COVID test to sit inside

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Hundreds of bars in San Francisco will begin requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from patrons who want to eat or drink inside, an industry group announced.

The San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance, which represents more than 500 bar owners in the area, said it changed its position this week on requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test due to a recent uptick in cases “among our staff members, especially those who are fully vaccinated.”

“This decision is based solely on our need to protect our workers, customers and their families,” the group said in a statement. “However, we hope it might also influence some who have not yet received vaccinations to do so as soon as they are able.”

“We understand that the only way our society (and our businesses) can ever return to true normalcy is through higher rates of vaccinations among our residents, not just in San Francisco but across the United States of America,” it added.

The proof of vaccination cards or negative test results from within 72 hours will not be required from customers who choose to sit “outside in parklets or other spaces we offer.”

Each bar will determine on their own how best to implement the rules, the alliance said.

Ben Blieman, the group’s president, said 85 percent of bar owners in the city are in favor of requiring proof of vaccination for indoor customers, according to NBC Bay Area.

In a tweet, San Francisco mayor London Breed hailed the announcement as “responsible.”

The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has prompted many cities and businesses to reassess the reopening of the economy.

In San Francisco, the seven-day average of daily new cases has surged in recent weeks back to 118, a level not seen since February.

Deaths caused by COVID-19 in the area have so far remained low, but epidemiologists and health officials have warned that those numbers might tick up in the coming weeks if unvaccinated people get infected and hospitalized.

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