San francisco restaurant reopening guidelines

San francisco restaurant reopening guidelines DEFAULT

SF Finally Confirms Full Reopening Plan for Restaurants on June 15

In case anyone forgot, California is slated to fully reopen on June 15 — a date that sounded far away when the governor announced it back in fully-masked April, but in fact is now next Tuesday. And while the general public may have a general understanding that the tiered color system is going away, restaurants, bars, and other small business owners have been left with questions and concerns. While California can reopen on the state level, San Francisco can still set rules and restrictions on the local level, though the city has remained more or less silent for the past two months.

But finally, SF officials have confirmed the local plan for the full reopening, and what that actually means for restaurants and bars. In a small business webinar from the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), Mayor London Breed dropped in to announce the good news, and SF Deputy Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip walked through the details: SF will be aligning with the state of California, specifically removing all capacity limits for restaurants and bars, and allowing fully vaccinated diners and drinkers to stop wearing masks — although there is some fine print on masks.

The city is aligning with the state and indoor capacity limits are going away in most settings. That means that restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for indoor dining and drinking at 100 percent capacity. The exception is “mega-events,” which is kind of a new concept, set at 5,000 people indoors or 10,000 outdoors, so that would include conventions, concerts, sports, and the like.

The mayor and governor already announced last week that outdoor dining will continue and parklets will be around at least through the end of the year. Governor Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, announced on June 3 that he’s extending that temporary emergency measure, to give more time to a couple of key bills moving through the state senate. At the local level, Mayor London Breed has also proposed making shared spaces permanent in San Francisco, but that’s currently embroiled in discussion. For now, shared spaces and parklets can continue through December 31, 2021.

Masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated diners and drinkers, a clear move that shows the city aligning with the state. But there are exceptions: The CDC will still require masks on public transportation through September, so mask up before hopping on MUNI. And Cal/OSHA still has not clarified the guidelines for wearing masks in the workplace. So while fully vaccinated diners and drinkers won’t have to wear masks next week, restaurant and bar workers still don’t know. Dr. Philip said this was beyond the powers of the SFDPH, so stay tuned for an update from Cal/OSHA, anticipated in the next week (see note below).

Restaurants and bars will not be required to ask to see proof of vaccination, a detail that was slightly sticky at the yellow tier. They will not be required to do anything extra in terms of cleaning surfaces or sanitization, returning to typical industry health standards. But Dr. Philip also pointed out that restaurants and bars are free to make their own rules, so if they wish to continue spacing out tables, requiring masks, or asking to see vaccine cards, that is completely within their rights. It’s ultimately up to individual proprietors to determine what makes their staff and their customers the most comfortable.

In a sentiment that echoed her comments at the beginning of the pandemic, Mayor London Breed told citizens to be patient with one another and not make assumptions about other people’s decisions to adhere to pre-reopening safety protocols. “We’re finally moving back to some level of normal … ” Breed says. “Let me say this. It’s going to be a big change. The city is coming alive, but not everyone moves at the same pace ... So let’s remember that the last year has been hard on everyone. So have a little patience and have a little grace. If you see someone wearing a mask, and the rules say they don’t need to, just let them be. It’s not anybody’s business if they want to wear their mask. Maybe it’s how they feel comfortable. If someone says they need a little space, give them some space.”

San Francisco fully reopening restaurants and bars is a surreal moment after more than a year of lockdowns and tier changes. Most recently, SF moved into the least-restrictive yellow tier on May 6, when it was the first county in the Bay Area to do so, and where it currently remains. It’s since been joined by Marin, Napa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties, meaning most of the Bay Area is now in the yellow tier for one last week. SF also further relaxed the rules for bars on May 20, allowing drinkers to stand and belly up to the bar.

That’s all thanks to the incredible stats: Dr. Philip once again reiterated that San Francisco is leading the country and the world on vaccination rates. Seventy-nine percent of all eligible San Franciscans have now received a first dose of the vaccine, and we are currently seeing only 12 cases a day, the lowest case counts since the start of the pandemic.

Restaurants and bars owners will likely feel relief, especially heading into Pride celebrations at the end of June. “We are very pleased to hear that the city of San Francisco plans on following the state of California in allowing for a full reopening on June 15th,” said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA), the local industry lobbying group, in a statement. “We are particularly grateful to Mayor Breed, the team at OEWD, DPH, and our Acting Health Officer, Dr. Philip, who have confirmed a week in advance that San Francisco will follow the State to allow businesses to prepare for the changes. We will continue to look to Cal/Osha to clarify its Emergency Temporary Standards for our workers.”

Updated June 10, 2021, 9:50 a.m.: Cal/OSHA held a special meeting on Wednesday, June 9 to reconsider mask rules in the workplace, hearing recommendations from Dr. Tomas Aragon from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and taking public comment. Cal/OSHA will meet again to review the proposal on June 17, but even if approved, the earliest that change would go into effect would be June 28. So restaurant and bar workers in San Francisco and across California do need to keep masking up for work, at least for the next few weeks.

Sours: https://sf.eater.com/2021/6/8/22525214/san-francisco-reopening-plan-restaurants-june-15

Many Bay Area restaurants are setting their own masking rules despite state's reopening

The mixed plans show that the state’s June 15 reopening won’t be a simple return to normalcy. Plus, there’s widespread confusion in the industry about the state’s rules for employees, which currently still require masks for workers.

The board of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, originally passed regulations saying vaccinated workers must wear masks if unvaccinated colleagues were present. But the agency drafted different rules last week, saying vaccinated employees won’t have to wear masks after all. Cal/OSHA is expected to approve the regulations Thursday — and Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning an executive order that will allow the new rules to take effect immediately.

State guidelines allow vaccinated diners to skip masks moving forward. However, individual restaurants can still require them and set stricter policies than the state.

At San Francisco’s safety-minded Prubechu, for example, the scene will look much the same this week: Servers and cooks in masks, with the restaurant’s host also asking all diners to wear their masks whenever they’re not seated at their table. Co-owner Shawn Camacho said the Guamanian spot will phase out its COVID-19 protocols at their own pace.

“We don’t want anyone who feels uncertain about going out to think twice about coming to Prubechu,” he said. “We’d rather err on the side of caution.”

Regardless of what Cal/OSHA decides, Hi-Neighbor Hospitality Group’s Ryan Cole said employees will continue wearing masks at his San Francisco restaurants, pandemic-born the Vault and popular New American spot Trestle, and soon-to-open Mama in Oakland. He sees it as a courtesy to ease diners back.

“It’s not masks forever, it’s just that you don’t flip a switch one day and everything goes away,” he said.

As for diners, masking will be an honor system — checking everyone’s vaccine status doesn’t seem realistic, Cole said, and people could easily lie. But Fatima Zimic, owner of Peruvian spot Cancha Boutique Gastrobar in the Marina, wants to try. If customers say they’re unvaccinated, the restaurant will seat them outside only. Zimic doesn’t intend to ask for vaccine cards, however, under the assumption diners won’t be carrying them around.

“It’s a safety concern for everybody, so I hope they’ll be honest,” she said.

At San Francisco’s classy One Market, general manager Lorenzo Bouchard will ask indoor diners to mask up if they leave their table, such as to use the bathroom. The restaurant will continue to offer masks to customers who show up without them. Since One Market’s clientele skews a bit older and more cautious, Bouchard said, the restaurant doesn’t want to make any drastic changes that could alienate diners — and hopefully no one will fight the policy.

“What will we do if someone presents a vaccine card and says, ‘I really don’t want to (wear a mask)’? I don’t have an answer,” he said.

As for employees, One Market and fellow Embarcadero restaurants Waterbar and Epic Steak are leaning toward allowing workers to decide whether to wear masks. Pete Sittnick said about a third of his 180 employees at Waterbar and Epic want to continue wearing masks, and he supports their preference. However, he’s thrilled to take his off.

“In the restaurant business, hospitality is so much determined around the energy you portray and that you give off, and a lot of that is with smiling,” he said.

But the state’s expected rule change Thursday of vaccinated employees being unmasked and unvaccinated employees still needing to wear masks concerns Jeffrey Sout, owner of Campbell’s new steak house Be.Steak.A and brunch favorite Orchard City Kitchen.

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“That creates two different classes of employees,” he said. “We’d still require all our staff to wear masks. It would just be for equality.”

He estimates that about 25%-30% of his employees are unvaccinated and doesn’t want them to feel shamed for their choice. Plus, there has been another serious health benefit to the masks: No employees got sick from the flu this past winter.

At San Francisco dim sum destination Yank Sing, some employees want to ditch masks while others think it’s too soon to ease all safety measures, according to owner Vera Chan-Waller. After much discussion, the decision became obvious: All Yank Sing workers will continue masking.

“If not 100% of our staff are comfortable,” Chan-Waller said, “we’re going to be safe and yield to that.”

Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @janellebitker

Sours: https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/restaurants/article/Many-Bay-Area-restaurants-are-setting-their-own-16249668.php
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San Francisco loosens dozens of COVID-19 restrictions, prepares for full reopening

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco, arguably the state's most careful county when it comes to reopening amid COVID-19, is loosening the reins and preparing for a return to normal this summer.

The city and county announced dozens of minor and meaningful changes to its health order, allowing more flexibility for businesses and residents.

We're breaking down the changes, which go into effect Thursday, sector by sector:

Restaurants


Restaurant guests no longer have to be seated to be served food and drinks. That means standing bar tables and similar arrangements are OK, as long as there's distance between tables and group sizes are still limited to eight people.

Sushi bars and other table-side food preparation (like at Benihana, for example) is also now allowed at smaller restaurants that can't keep physical distance between patrons.

Bars


Bars no longer have to enforce six feet of distance between parties sitting and drinking at the bar counter. People can also stand and drink around pool tables, arcade games and the like (as long as groups drinking together are limited to eight people).

Social gatherings


At social gatherings that are indoors with multiple households, people can now take off their masks to eat and drink. The county still emphasizes this is much safer when everyone in attendance is vaccinated.

Outdoor sports and other live events


People no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination to attend outdoor events like Giants games. They only need to show proof if they want to sit in fully vaccinated sections, which don't require physical distancing.

Real estate


Open houses are now allowed as long as they follow guidelines for indoor gatherings.

Indoor places of worship


Houses of worship can create areas for people who are fully vaccinated and do not require physical distancing. Face masks are still required and capacity is still limited to 50%.

Youth and adult sports


Teams are allowed to play more than one game in the same day at tournaments as long as all teams follow the state's guidelines for collegiate sports. Those guidelines involve regular COVID-19 testing.

Children's afterschool and recreational programs


There are no more limits on the size of cohorts and parents can now enter the property to pick up their kids, as long as they're masked.

Personal care services (tattoos, massages, etc.)


Patrons can take off their masks to get their faces pierced, tattooed or massaged.

"San Francisco is looking more and more every day like the vibrant city that it always has been," said Mayor London Breed in a press release announcing the new rules.

The city explains these changes will help San Francisco ease toward even bigger anticipated changes on June 15. That's when Gov. Gavin Newsom has said California plans to fully reopen its economy. What exactly that entails is yet to be announced.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

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Sours: https://abc7news.com/san-francisco-covid-sf-reopening-june-15-california/10668097/
COVID REOPENINGS: Diners flock to San Francisco restaurants for first weekend of reopened outdoor d

FAQs for COVID-19 Health Order C19-07y

Page last updated on October 14, 2021

 

Background

On June 15, 2021, the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy was terminated, however statewide COVID-19 guidance continues for some settings. The San Francisco Health Officer's declaration of a health emergency arising from the pandemic continues to be in effect, and the main health order governing the emergency remains in place. This document answers FAQs about the current version of the health order..

 

Revision history:

October 14, 2021 to clarifiy new masking guidelines in the updated Health Order.

September 30, 2021:

  • Explains the vaccination requirements (September 30, 2021) for employees working in covered high-risk settings.
  • Clarifies vaccination requirements for profession basketball players or others performing in large or mega indoor events.

September 23, 2021:

  • Clarifies proof of vaccination for participants in out-of-school time (OST) youth programs.
  • Updated link to the list of vaccines approved by WHO.
  • Clarifies enforcement of vaccination requirement for children turning twelve.
  • Clarifies exemptions and enforcement of new requirement of vaccinations verification.
  • The highly contagious Delta Variant has made it necessary to restore the indoor masking requirement.
  • New requirement of vaccination verification for patrons and staff in certain indoor public settings.
  • Vaccination requirements for personnel in high-risk settings extended to cover other health care providers.
  • Updates the vaccine mandate deadline, for personnel working in high-risk settings, to September 30, 2021 (instead of September 15, 2021).
  • How to deal with patrons who cannot get vaccinated due to a disability or religious belief.

1. What does the Safer Return Together Health Order do?

The Safer Return Together Health Order lifts most pandemic requirements. More specifically, it lifts capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for most businesses and activities. It also allows businesses, schools, and other activities to fully resume.

The order still has some requirements to specific situations. The purpose of these restrictions is to protect our communities and save lives by:

  • Increasing vaccine coverage to the greatest extent possible
  • Limiting the transmission risk of COVID-19
  • Containing any potential COVID-19 outbreaks
  • Aligning in general with the guidance issued by the CDC and the State relating to COVID-19 except in limited instances where local conditions require more restrictive measures

The order applies these additional measures to certain settings with vulnerable populations or where there is a high risk of COVID-19 transmission to ensure the health and safety of all in that setting. 

2. Who should get vaccinated?

Every eligible individual living, working and visiting San Francisco is strongly urged to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. This is especially important for people at risk for severe illness with COVID-19 and people who live or work with unvaccinated older adults and unvaccinated individuals with health risks.

3. Why is the City requiring proof of vaccination to go inside certain businesses?

San Francisco’s Health Officer is taking this step to protect against the continued spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, to safeguard against likely future variants and to help ensure the continued safe reopening of schools and businesses.  Vaccines are safe, effective and widely available.  They are the best means of protection against COVID-19 and its known variants. They are an especially important tool to protect those not eligible to be vaccinated, like children under 12, as well as more vulnerable populations, such as people with compromised immune systems.

4. How do you show that you’ve been vaccinated?

There are several ways to do so.  Acceptable methods of proof include:

    • Original, copy, or electronic photo of the CDC vaccination card (or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental jurisdiction)
    • documentation from a healthcare provider
    • personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California available by going to https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov
    • personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by another State, local, or foreign governmental jurisdictions
    • personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by an approved private company

Businesses subject to this new requirement must cross-check proof of vaccination against each patron’s photo identification.

A written self-attestation or declaration of vaccination status is not acceptable as a form of proof. 

5. I live in Canada and got the AstraZeneca vaccine.  Does my Canadian vaccination card satisfy the proof of vaccination requirement even though AstraZeneca's vaccine wasn't approved by the FDA?

Yes, as long as you are fully vaccinated.  Full vaccination means you completed the entire recommended series of vaccination (usually one or two doses) with a vaccine authorized to prevent COVID-19 by the FDA or by the World Health Organization.  A vaccination card similar to a CDC vaccination record card issued by a foreign governmental jurisdiction is an acceptable form of proof of vaccination.  Lists of FDA-authorized vaccines and WHO-authorized vaccines are available.

6. Is proof of vaccination required to enter all businesses in San Francisco?

No.  The proof of vaccination requirement applies to two main categories of indoor businesses: (1) those that serve food and drink, like bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters and entertainment venues; and (2) indoor gyms, yoga studios and other fitness establishments.  These both are types of indoor businesses that by their nature create situations where the virus could spread more easily.  This is because people must take off their masks to eat and drink, and because exercise accelerates breathing.  Vaccination requirements also apply to patrons and staff at large indoor events with 1,000 people or more because so many people will be gathered together in an indoor space.

7. Can I provide results from a negative COVID-19 test in place of proof of vaccination?

No. But for a limited period of time you may be able to provide a negative test to attend indoor events with more than 1,000 people. This only applies where tickets were sold before August 12 for events happening before September 15. The test result must be negative for the virus that causes COVID-19 within the prior 72 hours. Both nucleic acid (including polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) and antigen tests are acceptable.

8. When does this take effect?

The new vaccination verification requirements for patrons of bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters, entertainment venues, gyms and other covered businesses will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 20.

The new requirement also means that affected businesses must use their best efforts to determine the vaccination status of their staff before 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 20. The vaccination requirement for staff will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, October 13.

The changed vaccination verification requirements for indoor mega-events and the new vaccination verification requirements for large indoor events will take effect on August 20. This is subject to a limited exception for events where any tickets or reservations were sold before August 12 and that occur before September 15. Large events and mega-events that are covered by that exemption must still comply with the requirements for proof of vaccination or negative testing that currently apply to mega-events.

9. Do I need to show proof of vaccination to go inside a grocery store?  What about to go inside a drug store?  How about entering an indoor shopping mall?

No.  Proof of vaccination is not required for patrons to enter these indoor retail spaces unless food or drink are being served and consumed inside.  With limited exceptions, all persons two years of age and older are required to wear a well-fitted mask when inside these and other public indoor spaces.  Businesses that operate food courts in indoor shopping centers with seated dining are required to obtain proof of vaccination before patrons enter the food court unless they have removed all the seating.

10. Is proof of vaccination required in a cafeteria or gym within an office space that is not open to members of the public?

No, not at this time. Offices or other businesses that offer cafeteria services or that have gyms that are not open to members of the public are not required to comply with the new vaccination verification requirement. If these cafeteria or gym facilities are open to members of the public, businesses must comply with the August 20, 2021 vaccination verification deadline for all persons entering these facilities. 

11. Is proof of vaccination required in a hotel gym?  What about a gym used exclusively by collegiate athletes or private members?

Yes.  Proof of vaccination is required in gyms in hotels, gyms used by collegiate athletes, and gyms with private memberships.  Offices or businesses hosting a gym that is open only to employees are not required to comply with the proof of vaccination requirement.

12. Is proof of vaccination required at institutions of higher education hosting indoor physical education classes?  What about indoor culinary classes?

Yes, proof of vaccination is required before entering indoor physical education classes and intercollegiate sports where participants will be engaged in exercise involving elevated breathing.  Indoor culinary classes that involve eating or drinking are also subject to the proof of vaccination requirement.

13. Are organizations providing shelter, food, or other necessities of life to people experiencing homelessness or food or shelter insecurity required to obtain verification of vaccination from clients or patrons? 

Generally, no.  Government agencies and other entities operating shelters or similar facilities that house or provide meals or other necessities of life to individuals experiencing homelessness or who have food or shelter insecurity may offer those services to those who are unvaccinated, although everyone is strongly urged to become fully vaccinated as soon as possible.  Staff members of these entities are still subject to ascertainment (providing vaccination status) and proof of vaccination requirements.  With limited exceptions, all persons two years of age and older are required to wear a well-fitted mask when inside these and other public indoor spaces.

14. Are museums and galleries covered by the vaccine mandate?

The proof of vaccination requirement only applies if 1,000 or more patrons will be present in an individual gallery or other enclosed space at the same time.  Museums and galleries are encouraged to ensure that patrons move through exhibits and avoid gathering in large groups for extended periods of time.  For each gallery space or room in which patrons gather museums and galleries are also encouraged to implement at least one of the ventilation strategies approved by SFDPH.  But in areas where food or drinks are served and consumed (e.g., a restaurant or café within a museum), proof of vaccination for patrons and implementation of at least one ventilation strategy are required regardless of the number of people present in the space.  With limited exceptions, all persons 2 years old and older are required to wear a well-fitted mask when inside galleries, museums, and other similar public indoor spaces.

15. For events being held in a hotel, museum, or other event space, who is responsible for obtaining proof of vaccination?  The hotel/venue, or the event organizer?  Do they have to verify before entering the venue space or the hotel?

It is the responsibility of both the operator of the host venue and the event organizer to ensure that proof of vaccination requirements are met.  Proof of vaccination must be obtained before patrons enter any venue space that is subject to the proof of vaccination requirement.  For example, if a hotel is hosting a gathering of over 1,000 people in a large ball room, proof of vaccination should be obtained before patrons enter the ballroom. 

16. My venue holds 1,500 people.  Do I need to submit a health plan to DPH for each planned event, or can I submit one plan for all planned events at my place of business? 

You are only required to submit one health plan per venue as long as it covers all the different kinds of planned events in that venue that are subject to the proof of vaccination requirement.  That plan must be submitted at least 10 days before the first covered event.

17. Does a house of worship need to require proof of vaccination at an indoor wedding reception or other gathering where food or drinks are being served?

Yes.  The proof of vaccination requirement applies to indoor gatherings of all sizes hosted by houses of worship where food or drink are being served, such as a wedding reception.  For clarity, proof of vaccination is not required where food or drink are served indoors briefly only as part of a religious ceremony (e.g., communion or kiddush). 

18. Is a tent or other outdoor structure considered an indoor or outdoor space?

Guidance on whether a structure is considered outdoors or indoors, is available.

Proof of vaccination requirements apply to all indoor spaces where food or drink are being served, where people are engaged in exercise that accelerates breathing, or where groups of more than 1,000 people are gathered. 

19. If a landlord has tenants that are businesses covered by the proof of vaccination requirements, does the landlord have an obligation to enforce the vaccination mandate?

Both landlords and tenants are responsible for ensuring that proof of vaccination requirements are met.  If a tenant is violating a health order and won’t stop, then upon being notified by the City, a property owner must exercise its rights under the lease to stop the property from being a public nuisance.

20. Do I have to be fully vaccinated to attend a large or mega indoor gathering such as a Warriors basketball game or a concert at the Chase Center? Do children under 12 need to be tested before entering these events?

Yes.

Beginning August 20, 2021, patrons age 12 and up must show proof of vaccination to enter large or mega indoor gatherings such as the Chase Center for a basketball game or concert. Based on current health conditions, these facilities must not allow unvaccinated people 12 and over to enter indoor areas regardless of the reason they are unvaccinated, except for the limited purposes provided under the health order. Due to the nature of many indoor events (such as a live concert), facilities may not be able to offer unvaccinated patrons safe and feasible options that facilitate live access to services consistent with the health order requirements.

Children under 12 may attend these events but under State rules are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering an indoor event of 1,000 or more people. See further information on California's testing requirements at these events. There is also a narrow, time-limited exception for events where any tickets or reservations were sold before August 12, 2021 and that occur before September 15. Events that are covered by that exemption must still comply with the requirements for proof of vaccination or negative testing that currently apply to mega-events.

21. Which workers must get vaccinated?

Proof of vaccination will be required for anyone who routinely works in a high-risk setting and for anyone who works in indoor businesses where the virus could spread more easily.

Employees who routinely work in a high risk-setting such as acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, homeless shelters and jails is required to be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021.

Employees working in the other businesses that include those that serve food and drink, fitness establishments, and recreation facilities where there may be elevated breathing will need to verify that they are fully vaccinated by October 13, 2021. 

The October 13, 2021 deadline also applies to (1) workers who are not permanently stationed in high-risk settings but who enter the high-risk setting in the course of their duties on an intermittent or occasional basis; (2) personnel in adult daycare facilities, adult day programs licensed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), and dental offices; (3) home health care workers and pharmacists; and (4) all staff who routinely work onsite of a covered business.  Additionally, the health order does not prohibit any other businesses or government entities from requiring their employees to get vaccinated or provide verification of their vaccination status.

22. Are any employees exempt from this vaccination requirement?

There are limited exemptions to vaccination requirements such as religious beliefs and qualifying medical reasons. In order to claim an exemption, employees must submit a declination form to their employer. Unvaccinated exempt people who work in high risk settings will be required to wear a well-fitted mask (except while actively eating or drinking). Alternatively, non-vented N95 mask, supplied by the high-risk setting upon request, is strongly encouraged. They must also get tested for COVID-19 at least once a week using either a nucleic acid or an antigen test.

23. If an employee who works in a covered high-risk setting receives their final vaccine shot on (or within two weeks before) September 30, 2021, are they prohibited from entering the high-risk setting for two weeks after that shot until they meet the definition of fully vaccinated, or can they mask and test in that interim two-week period?   

Any employee who works in a high-risk setting and completed an FDA authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine regimen (either one dose of a single-dose regimen or the second dose of a two-dose regimen) may immediately enter and work in the high-risk setting if during the two weeks following their final vaccine dose the employee:

  1. is tested for COVID-19 at least once a week (and at least twice a week if the high-risk setting is a general acute care hospital, skilled nursing facility, or intermediate care facility) using either a nucleic acid (including polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) or antigen test
  2. AND

  3. wears a face covering at all times in the high-risk setting in compliance with the State Public Health Officer Order of July 26, 2021.

So, for example, if an employee in a high-risk setting receives a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on September 29, 2021, that individual could continue to enter the facility to work in the facility through October 13, 2021 if that employee meets the masking and testing requirements; after October 13 that employee would be fully vaccinated and would not be subject to these additional testing and masking provisions of the Order.  An employer could still require additional safety measures, and any masking requirements that apply under state or local rules to fully vaccinated employees in such settings would apply.

24. Are professional basketball players or others performing in large or mega indoor events subject to the City’s vaccine mandate, regardless of whether those individuals claim a medical or religious exemption?

At large and mega indoor events, all patrons age 12 and older must be vaccinated at this time.  Under the current Safer Return Together Order, those patrons who do not provide proof of full vaccination cannot enter indoor areas regardless of the reason they are unvaccinated.  And they cannot test out of this requirement even if they have a medical or religious exemption.  At this time, this same rule applies to professional basketball players and other performers employed by the business, government entity or other organization hosting a large or mega indoor event (“home players”).   To perform at those events in San Francisco, home players must be fully vaccinated by October 13. 

In contrast to home players, players or other performers who are not employed by the host of the event (“visiting players”) are excepted from the vaccine verification requirements.  But under the Safer Return Together Order those visiting performers or players are strongly urged to be fully vaccinated before performing or playing.  And they are required to meet under the Order a number of specific health requirements.  Specifically, they must remain at least six feet from members of the public at all times during the event, provide a proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the event, and wear a well-fitted mask at all times except while actively performing or playing.  Also, unvaccinated visiting performers or players cannot enter the indoor sections of restaurants, bars, or cafes located within the event venue, except as required for them to perform or play. 

The reason for the exception is that visiting players are, by definition, present in the venue only occasionally and as a result present a lower risk of transmission because they have fewer contacts with others.  Also, they must comply with additional safety measures to reduce the risk.  In particular, as mentioned above, visiting players are subject to the requirement that they remain at least six feet from members of the public, at all times.   In this way, they are subject to stricter social distancing requirements than those that apply to home players and patrons attending the event.  The City’s requirements for visiting players is consistent with New York City’s similar requirements for players or performers at indoor large events.  Also, while they are in San Francisco visiting players are subject to the same restrictions that apply to all other patrons of restaurants, bars, gyms and other facilities covered by the vaccination requirements of the Safer Return Together Order.  As a result, at this time visiting players who are unvaccinated may not enter any of these covered facilities while they are in San Francisco.  Those restrictions apply to residents and visitors alike.

25. I am an employee who works in a high-risk setting. Does the health order allow my employer to ask me for information concerning my request for an exemption on the basis of a disability or sincere religious belief?

The health order prohibits employees from working indoors at high-risk facilities unless they are fully vaccinated. A worker may be able to obtain an exemption from the vaccination requirement, but only if they have a demonstrated disability or sincere religious belief that prevents them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and only if the employer can provide the employee with a reasonable accommodation. Nothing in the health order is intended to prevent an employer from engaging in with its employees to determine whether the employee has a qualifying disability or religious belief or to determine whether the employer is able to offer the employee a reasonable accommodation.

26. If I close the indoor seating at my coffee shop or restaurant, does that mean my employees are no longer covered by this order and able to work without providing proof of full vaccination?

Yes.  If no food or beverages are served and consumed indoors then the proof of vaccination requirement does not apply to patrons or staff.  With limited exceptions, all persons two years of age and older are required to wear a well-fitted mask when inside these and other public indoor spaces including while ordering or picking up food or to use the restroom.

27. Are there exceptions to the vaccination requirement?

Yes, there are limited exceptions for affected businesses:

  • This requirement does not apply to children under 12 years old. 
  • These businesses may allow patrons to use the outdoor portions of the business without vaccination verification.
  • These 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.

These requirements may also be subject to limited exemptions under state and federal law. But everyone, including children two years and older, must still comply with applicable indoor mask requirements under local and state health rules.

28. If I go out to a restaurant and eat at an outdoor table do I need to show proof of vaccination?

No. 

29. I operate a facility subject to the vaccination mandate under the health order. What do I do if an employee requests an accommodation for a sincerely held religious belief? What qualifies as a sincerely held religious belief?

All businesses are encouraged to consult with their own legal counsel before approving or denying an employee's request for an exemption from the vaccination requirement. Each request should be considered on a case-by-case basis, and the following is offered as general guidance only. Under the health order, an employee may be exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate only under specific circumstances. In the case of a claimed religious exemption, the employee must establish that they have a sincere religious belief that prevents them from receiving the vaccine. If they make this showing, the employer must then engage with the employee to determine if the employer can provide a reasonable accommodation in lieu of vaccination.

To qualify for a religious exemption from the health order's vaccination requirement, an employee must demonstrate:

  1. the employee has a sincerely held belief that prohibits them from receiving the vaccination, and
  2. that belief is religious rather than secular or scientific.

Employees may make a request for exemption verbally or in writing. And an employer may request its employee supply additional written information about the claimed belief. The health order also requires employees to state that they are making their request under penalty of perjury.

As to the first step of this test, generally, an employer should assume that an employee seeking a religious exemption does so in good faith, unless there is an objective basis for questioning their sincerity. For example, if the employee only recently adopted the stated belief or the employee has previously received other vaccinations, the employer may inquire as to why the employee now has a different position.

As to the second step of the test, the fact that an employee claims that their belief is religious is not determinative. When an employee makes a claim for religious exemption, the employer may attempt to determine whether the belief is, in fact, religious or secular in nature. An employee's political, sociological, personal, or philosophical views do not qualify as religious beliefs that would support an exemption under applicable state or federal law.

The ultimate inquiry is whether the employee has a belief that occupies a place in their life parallel to that filled by God in traditional religions. If an employee's request for an accommodation does not readily demonstrate that their belief is sincere or religious in nature, the employer may make further inquiries, such as:

  • request additional information about the employee's belief system, the nature and tenets of their asserted beliefs, and how they follow the practice or belief;
  • review written religious materials describing the belief or practice; and
  • obtain a supporting statement from a religious leader or another member of their community who is familiar with the employee's belief system.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of beliefs state and federal courts have held are not religious (and therefore, standing alone, do not warrant an exemption):

  • fear of possible side effects from immunization;
  • a desire to live a "healthy" or "pure" lifestyle;
  • opposition to vaccination due to veganism;
  • a belief that the vaccine will do more harm than good; and
  • distrust in the government or the science supporting vaccination.

Most organized religions do not prohibit vaccinations. A non-exhaustive list of religious faiths and their stance on vaccination is available.. But, an employee is not required to cite a recognized religion or religious tenet to qualify for an accommodation. As to the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines contain fetal cells. An employee's concerns about the use of fetal cell lines in researching the COVID-19 vaccines may also not qualify as a sincere religious belief since those same cell lines were used to develop many other vaccines, including those for hepatitis A, rubella, and rabies. If the employee has previously received other vaccines without concern, the claimed belief may not be sincere or religious.

If an employee does have a sincere religious belief that prevents them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the employer must then determine whether it can offer a reasonable accommodation. Employers are not required to accommodate employees if it would cause an undue burden on operations or result in more than a "de minimis" cost to the business. For example, an employer does not have to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs if the accommodation is costly, infringes on other employees' job rights or benefits, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.

In making this determination, an employer may consider whether the employee's job requires them to come into contact with non-employees whose vaccination status could be unknown or who may be ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. In such cases, an unvaccinated employee may pose a direct threat of harm to coworkers or non-employees if they remain in the workplace and an accommodation may not be possible.

Whether an employer is able to offer an accommodation depends on the nature of the business and the specific employee's job duties. An employer must engage in an interactive process with its employee to determine whether a reasonable accommodation exists under the particular circumstances. Depending on the employee's job duties and location, reasonable accommodations may include requiring the employee to regularly test for COVID-19 and wear an appropriate face covering, allowing the employee to telework, or transferring the employee to a different position or location.

30. What if my employee claims they have a qualifying medical condition? What types of conditions qualify for an exemption from the vaccination requirement under the health order?

Under the health order, an employee may be exempt from the vaccination requirement if they have a qualifying medical condition. This means that they have a condition or disability recognized by the Federal Drug Administration ("FDA") or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") that prevents them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

A list of recognized conditions that prevent someone from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is available, and includes:

  • Documented history of severe allergic reaction to one or more ingredients of all the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S.; or
  • Documented history of severe or immediate-type hypersensitivity allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, along with a reason why the individual cannot be vaccinated with one of the other available vaccines.

Conditions that do not prevent someone from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (and which therefore do not qualify an individual for an exemption) include:

  • Allergic reactions (including severe allergic reactions) not related to vaccines (COVID-19 or other vaccines) or injectable therapies, such as allergic reactions related to food, pet, venom, or environmental allergies, or allergies to oral medications;
  • Latex, egg, or gelatin allergies; or
  • Delayed-onset local reaction around the injection site after the first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

If an employee believes they have a qualifying condition, they must provide their employer (or the business where they are working) with a signed statement from a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician stating that the individual qualifies for the exemption. The statement should not reveal any underlying medical condition or disability. The California Medical Board has announced that licensees who grant an exemption without a legitimate medical reason may be subject to disciplinary action.

31. How should businesses covered by the proof of vaccine requirement, such as restaurants, gyms, or large/mega indoor events manage unvaccinated patrons due to a disability or a religious belief?

Based on current health conditions, businesses covered by the proof of vaccine requirement must not allow unvaccinated people 12 and over to enter indoor areas regardless of the reason they are unvaccinated, except for the limited purposes provided under the health order. For example, in a restaurant setting, a customer may go inside while wearing a well-fitted mask to use the restroom or place an order for take-out. The Health Officer will continue to monitor COVID-19 health conditions and, if conditions allow it, may consider changes to the requirements for access of unvaccinated patrons to services.

Businesses should attempt to determine whether safe and feasible options exist that will allow the customer a way to access services consistent with the health order requirements. Examples of options to access services in an indoor restaurant setting may include offering to:

  • seat a customer in an outdoor area of the business such as an outdoor dining space;
  • connect the customer with similar services in the area that host outdoor options; or
  • provide the customer with take-out.

Examples of options to access services in an indoor gym setting may include offering to:

  • provide access an outdoor area of the business like an outdoor gym space;
  • connect the customer with similar services in the area that host outdoor options; or
  • provide the customer access to virtual services, such as an online fitness class, or other remote access options.

The health order does not require businesses to ask questions about the nature of any person's disability or religious belief. And the health order does not require businesses to investigate the validity of a customer's stated exemption.

Businesses should never attempt to physically engage a combative or violent customer who refuses to comply with staff requests. If a person becomes violent or threatens staff, customers, or others, staff should avoid physical contact and immediately call 911. Businesses may also contact the San Francisco Police Department for assistance with any customer who refuses to follow staff requests to leave the premises.

Businesses must never treat a customer differently based on their race, color, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, weight or height. For example, a business cannot scrutinize differently a person's proof of vaccination based on the color of their skin; nor may they refuse to accept a vaccination card because it was issued by a foreign government.

These are general guidelines only. Businesses are encouraged to seek the advice of legal counsel as appropriate in developing policies and procedures around the proof of vaccination requirement.

Different guidelines may apply to employers in relation to proof of vaccination requirements for staff. Employers should refer to guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as guidance from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

32. I run a small restaurant or bar.  Do I have to hire someone to check proof of vaccination at the door?

No.  Although checking patrons before entry is preferred, dining establishments and bars may require proof of vaccination to be shown at the time of patrons’ first in-person interaction with staff (e.g., at the time of ordering) rather than at the entrance to the establishment.  These establishments are prohibited from serving any patron dining or drinking indoors who fails to provide this proof.  Patrons must wear masks at all times until a restaurant or bar staff member has obtained the required proof of vaccination.

33. What if a teenager doesn’t have photo ID to cross-check against their proof of vaccination?

Businesses should use best efforts to cross-check minors’ proof of vaccination against some form of identification.  For example, if the minor does not have photo ID, a non-photo ID (e.g., school ID) or verification from a parent is sufficient.

34. If my child turns twelve and will now get vaccinated, do they have to stop participating in activities that require proof of vaccination (for example, indoor dining, concerts, sporting events, movies) until they are fully vaccinated?

Children who turn twelve and will get vaccinated may continue to participate in activities that require full vaccination for up to 10 weeks after their twelfth birthday without having to show proof of full vaccination.  Beginning ten weeks after their twelfth birthday, they must show proof of full vaccination.

35. Do participants in an out-of-school time (OST) youth program have to show proof of full vaccination to participate?

No. Schools and OST Programs are covered by separate sector-specific directives and are not subject to the vaccination requirements set forth in Appendix B of the Health Order at this time. Participants in these programs—including those that are held in facilities that are open to the public—do not have to show proof of vaccination.

36. Do indoor masking requirements still apply?

Yes, the requirements for everyone two years old and older to wear a well-fitted mask in indoor public spaces remain in effect, with limited exceptions. Updated rules effective October 15, 2021, allow removal of masks in some limited work settings involving stable cohorts, such as offices and work-related vehicle use, when everyone is fully vaccinated (with no children under 12 present and no health or religious exemptions). See the FAQs regarding those situations for more details on when masks can be removed in these work settings.

37. Do people attending an event at a private residence need to show proof of vaccination?

No.  Individuals hosting private events in their homes are not subject to the new vaccination verification requirements. They are strongly urged to require all guests age 12 and older to show proof that they are fully vaccinated.

38. Do I have to be fully vaccinated to attend a Giants baseball game?

If you attend a large event that is outdoors such as a Giants game, you are not required to show proof of vaccination before entering the ballpark. But proof of vaccination is required for fans 12 years and older whenever they enter an indoor space within the ballpark. For instance, proof of vaccination would be required before entering an indoor area where any person is eating or drinking, like an indoor dining concession area or bar. Proof of vaccination would also be required before entering into any indoor area where more than 1,000 people are gathering. If you are accessing other indoor spaces (such as pick-up concessions with no eating or drinking, or restrooms) you do not need to present proof of vaccination, but you must still wear a well-fitted mask as required by State and local health orders. Although there is no legal mandate to be fully vaccinated to enter the ballpark, SFDPH strongly recommends that all eligible people get fully vaccinated as soon as possible, especially if they plan to attend large gatherings like Giants

39. What happens if businesses do not comply with the order?

As with all of San Francisco’s health orders since the first Stay at Home Order, the City’s primary goal has been compliance through outreach and education, not punitive action.  A violation of this order is considered to be a public nuisance and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.  The Department of Public Health is authorized to respond to such public nuisances by issuing Notice(s) of Violation and ordering premises vacated and closed until the owner, tenant, or manager submits a written plan to eliminate all violations and DPH finds that plan satisfactory.  But again, the City’s goal is to work to ensure compliance.  This is about protecting the health of workers, residents and the broader community.

40. When will these requirements end?

The updates to the order will remain in effect until the Health Officer determines they are no longer needed or that they need to be changed. This will depend on health conditions.  As mentioned above, these requirements are intended to address not only the current surge but possible future surges due to other variants and to help ensure the ongoing reopening of schools for in-person instruction.  The Health Officer will regularly assess health conditions to determine whether and under what conditions vaccination verification is still necessary.

 

41. What are high-risk settings?

The health order defines high risk settings as: acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, homeless shelters (general shelters, family shelters, transitional age youth shelters, and domestic violence shelters), and jails.

These are care or living settings where many people often are living together. These are often congregate settings, where vulnerable populations reside out of necessity and where the risk of COVID-19 transmission and severe illness or death is high.

42. What steps must be taken at a worksite that is designated a high-risk setting?

By September 30, 2021, employers at high risk settings must:

  • Find out the vaccination status of all personnel (i.e., staff, contractors, sub-contractors, vendors, volunteers)
  • Require vaccination for all personnel (except for the exceptions given above)
  • Require unvaccinated exempt personnel to wear a well-fitted mask at all times
  • Require unvaccinated exempt personnel to be tested at least once per week

43. Is masking required again?

Yes. The highly contagious Delta Variant has made it necessary to require masking in indoor public spaces again.

44. Do the new masking rules allow people in ride share vehicles to take off their masks?

No. All public transportation, including Muni or other transit buses, trains, and ferries, as well as other commercial modes of shared transportation such as taxis, limousines, and ride share vehicles, are still subject to mask requirements under federal law and the local health order. This new rule under the local health order allows removal of masks only for motor vehicles used by employees for work or personal motor vehicles used by employees to commute to and from work where everyone in the vehicle is fully vaccinated (no kids under 12, no exemptions from vaccination) and everyone in the vehicle is employed by the same entity. When masks are allowed to be removed in vehicles, the order recommends increasing ventilation when possible by opening windows.

45. Can I take off my mask at work if I am unvaccinated?

Masking in most workplaces is set by rules from Cal/OSHA and Public Health Orders. Consult those rules and your employer for details about the masking requirements in your workplace. Currently a well-fitted mask is required in all indoor work settings including shared motor vehicles.

46. Do I have to wear a mask at work if I am fully vaccinated?

Masking in most workplaces is set by rules from Cal/OSHA and Public Health Orders. Consult those rules and your employer for details about the masking requirements in your workplace. Currently a well-fitted mask is required in all indoor work settings including shared motor vehicles, except as allowed under updated rules effective October 15, 2021 for some limited work settings involving stable cohorts, such as offices and work-related vehicle use, when everyone is fully vaccinated (with no children under 12 present and no health or religious exemptions). See the FAQs regarding those situations for more details on when masks can be removed in these office and vehicle settings.

46. Are there times when I can remove my mask indoors?

Fully vaccinated employees may work without masks outside, but are currently required to wear a well-fitted mask indoors unless alone in a private office or in certain office settings. A business or government entity can require that their employees wear facial coverings in any setting. Updated rules effective October 15, 2021 allow removal of masks in some limited work settings involving stable cohorts, such as offices and work-related vehicle use, when everyone is fully vaccinated (with no children under 12 present and no health or religious exemptions). See the FAQs regarding those situations for more details on when masks can be removed in these work settings.

47. Can a business or government office require employees and customers to wear masks?

Businesses or government offices must require that all customers and visitors wear masks indoors to reduce the risk to their workers and others. They should clearly post the business’ or office’s requirements onsite and online and apply them consistently. There are limited situations where wearing a mask is not possible or required, such as while actively eating or drinking, showering or being shaved.

48. Can a business or government office require employees and customers to wear masks?

Businesses or government offices must require that all customers and visitors wear masks indoors to reduce the risk to their workers and others. They should clearly post the business’ or office’s requirements onsite and online and apply them consistently. There are limited situations where wearing a mask is not possible or required, such as while actively eating or drinking, showering or being shaved.

49. How do the new rules around designating separate spaces (separate office floors or suites, distinct fitness rooms, etc.) work? 

The new rule allows businesses and other entities, if they wish to do so and based on their own assessment of any other applicable legal requirements, to designate distinct gathering spaces indoors where masks can be removed when all requirements of the order are met.  This is so even if other parts of the business include people who are not fully vaccinated.  The general requirements under the revised order include that everyone in the area be fully vaccinated and be part of a stable group of people who work together or gather on a regular basis, that 100% of the people be fully vaccinated, that at least one of the ventilation strategies referred to in the order is used in that area, and that all other requirements for unmasked indoors spaces are met.  Access to these spaces must be controlled by the business or entity in some manner to exclude everyone who is not fully vaccinated, including, for example, prohibiting access by children under 12 years old and anyone with a medical or religious exemption.  Those areas must be separated by doors, walls, or distance and not have large segments of open ventilation with areas that include people who are not fully vaccinated.  And all people must wear a mask when in common areas indoors, such as hallways, lobbies, and elevators where such access is not able to be controlled.  It is up to the business or entity to design a system that works for it if it wants to use this option.
By way of example, the following types of indoor spaces could be used to create areas where masks could be removed subject to the minimum requirements under the order: 

    1. A two-floor gym that designates the entire upper floor as an area where masks can be removed and prohibits guests, drop-ins, or anyone who is not fully vaccinated from going upstairs;
    2. A separate fitness room (such as a spin room, yoga studio, or similar exercise space) separated by a closed door from the rest of the gym where the room has at least one of the required ventilation strategies in place.  It is recommended that rooms where masks are removed do not share ventilation with the rest of the facility;
    3. Half of a floor of an office building where access to that part of the floor is restricted to people who are fully vaccinated—in this scenario, it is consistent with the order for there to be a buffer zone in a long open hallway between an area where masks can be removed and the rest of the floor, even if the hallway does not have a physical barrier or door between the two areas;
    4. A large space in a house of worship for religious services where access to the large space is restricted to people who are fully vaccinated, for example by having a separate, smaller room used for services for people whose vaccination status is not known or where children or people with exemptions are present;

Business and other entities should consult their own legal counsel and other advisors for how to set up such spaces if they wish to pursue this option.  The examples listed above do not constitute legal advice to any business or entity. 

50. Why don’t the new rules apply if there are children under 12 years old present?

Children under 12 years old are not yet eligible for vaccination.  This means that they are at higher risk when indoors with anyone who is not masked, and that is true even if the people without masks are fully vaccinated since infections can occur, though they are less likely with fully vaccinated people.  For that reason, for the time being when children under 12 are indoors in these communal or public spaces, everyone must remain masked. 

51. How do these rules for removal of masks change when children 5 to11 are eligible to get vaccinated?

The health and vaccination benchmarks for lifting the indoor universal mask mandate will likely be met no later than eight weeks after the FDA grants emergency use authorization for any COVID-19 vaccine children ages 5 to 11.  Also, it is currently anticipated that for San Francisco to reach the benchmark of 80% vaccination for the total population children in that age range will need to be fully vaccinated.  Full vaccination will take a minimum of five weeks from when children in that age group receive their first dose.  So, once children 5 to 11 start to get vaccinated, these interim rules where masks can be removed in some settings where no children under 12 are present will soon likely be replaced with an overall lifting of the indoor universal mask requirements.

52. What safety precautions are in place for situations that allow removal of masks indoors?  

For businesses or entities that want to offer an indoor area where masks can be removed, the following minimum safety precautions are required: 

  1. All people must be fully vaccinated in the area where masks can be removed and there are no exceptions (that means no children under 12 years old and no people with medical or religious vaccination exemptions);
  2. The people who are allowed to enter the area where masks can be removed must be in a stable group who participate in the work or activity on a regular basis—no guests or other visitors are allowed in that area, even if they are masked or fully vaccinated;
  3. At least one ventilation strategy listed in Section 2 of Appendix A of the order (available online at www.sfdph.org/healthorders) must be used in that area;
  4. If the business or entity has an outbreak (i.e., three or more cases in a rolling 14-day period under Cal/OSHA rules), then it must wait for 30 days after the outbreak before allowing masks to be removed in any area of the business;
  5. Employees are still required to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and should remain home if they are sick with new or unexplained symptoms until they test and otherwise follow the rules on isolation and quarantine, if applicable (go to www.sfdph.org/directives for more information); and
  6. People are still allowed to wear a mask at any time, even in an area where masks can be removed, if they feel more comfortable doing so.

The new rule allows people to be unmasked in some settings where the employer or entity controls access and verifies 100% full vaccination of everyone in the setting.  What if there is only one person who has a religious or medical exemption?  Can everyone but the person with the exemption take off their mask but the person with the exemption can still attend but wear a mask?

No.  The new rule does not allow for people to remove masks if anyone is present who is unvaccinated, even if they have a religious or medical exemption.  If anyone is not fully vaccinated for any reason—whether based on an exemption or because they are not eligible for the vaccine, such as children under 12—then for the time being nobody in that setting—even fully vaccinated people—may remove a mask in that setting unless a different exemption allowed by the Health Order applies (e.g., removing a mask while actively eating or drinking).  The reason is to limit mask removal to safer settings where everyone is vaccinated and gathers together regularly to help minimize transmission risk until the benchmarks are met to lift the indoor universal mask mandate.

53. The new rule says that people who enter the facility on an intermittent or occasional basis for short periods of time (e.g., people who deliver goods or packages) do not need to provide proof of Full Vaccination, but must wear a mask.  Can someone who is not fully vaccinated go into an area where masks can be removed – for example in a gym to engage in fitness activities –  if they only do so for a short amount of time?

No.  Anyone engaged in the core aspect of the activity (e.g., office work for the business, fitness, a religious gathering, or an adult class) must be fully vaccinated if they are in the area where masks can be removed, even if they are only there for a few minutes.  The exemption for people who are only there for a short period of time is for people who are making quick deliveries and not participating in the core activity, and even so it is recommended that they not enter the area where masks can be removed if it is at all possible for them to avoid entering, and they must be masked for the entire period they are onsite. 

54. The new rule says masking will end when cases and hospitalizations are low and vaccination is over 80%.  When will that happen? 

The Health Officer will make that determination when all three criteria listed in the order are met and will then issue an update to the order.  At that time, face covering requirements will be lifted in most indoor public settings, but state and federal requirements may still apply in places like public transit, health care facilities, and schools.  And, people are still allowed to wear a mask at any time, even in an area where masks can be removed, if they feel more comfortable doing so.

56. In terms of the 100-person cap, what if an office has 150 employees, but they work as teams smaller than 100?  Can an office with over 100 employees divide onto separate floors so each floor is not over 100?

The limit on 100 people for indoor settings without masks is for classes, lectures, and similar gatherings with fixed groups only.  There are no size limits for offices, gyms and fitness facilities, or religious gatherings.

57. In terms of the 100-person cap for adult lectures and similar activities, what if a class or group has 150 students but they are grouped in separate rooms with each group being under 100 people?

The class can divide into separate rooms for purposes of ensuring that no room has more than 100 people in it at the same time.  The rooms must be separated such that they do not have open air flow between the rooms.   

58. In some situations, masks can be removed in college lectures or adult classes under the new rules.  Do these new rules apply to high school classes where all students are vaccinated?

No.  The new rules do not apply to TK-12 education.  There are separate directives and other state rules that apply in those settings.

59. As a fully vaccinated person I am not required to mask when I am outside. Should I carry a mask with me anyways?

If you are certain that you will always stay outside, you do not need to bring a mask. If there is a chance you will go indoors, or need to hop on public transit, bring a mask.

60. Can my business ask its unmasked customers about their vaccination status?

Beginning on August 20, 2021, some categories of indoor businesses, those that serve food and drink, and establishments where customers engage in activity involving elevated breathing (e.g. gyms, recreation facilities, yoga studios, and dance studios), must verify the vaccination status of their customers.

61. How will these changes to the mask order be enforced?

Most San Franciscans have been doing an excellent job when it comes to protecting public health, and we have no reason to believe that will change. San Francisco's priority when it comes to public health orders has always been compliance rather than punishment, so the City's approach has been to first educate people about what the health orders require. If necessary, various City departments, including the Department of Public Health and SFPD, have the authority to issue notices of violation, orders to vacate the premises, or citations for violating health orders.

62. Is personal health screening still required in the workplace?

Businesses and government offices must continue screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms. This does not require that the screening be performed on-site. You can ask your employees to evaluate their symptoms before arriving at work.

63. Should my business continue to offer outdoor and pick-up / to-go service?

All businesses and governmental entities are urged to continue to offer services and activities outdoors, if it is feasible and legally allowed. COVID-19 transmission risk is much lower outdoors compared to indoors.

64. Does the Safer Return Together Health Order mandate any signage?

All businesses and governmental entities are required to post signage that is easily visible reminding individuals of COVID-19 prevention best practices to reduce transmission, including messages with information about topics such as:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Stay home if you’re sick and talk to your doctor
  • Wear a mask for added protection
  • Maximize fresh air
  • Clean your hands

All businesses and governmental entities are required to post signs in employee break rooms or other areas encouraging employees to get vaccinated and informing them how to obtain additional information.   These signs are available at sf.gov.

65. Are there special requirements for schools and programs for children and youth?

Yes. There are separate directives covering Schools and Programs for Children and Youth.

 

 

 

Sours: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus-faq.asp

Francisco restaurant reopening guidelines san

San Francisco to Require Proof of Vaccination for Entry to Certain Indoor Businesses and All Large Indoor Events

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax announced today that San Francisco will require businesses in certain high-contact indoor sectors, such as those that serve food or drink like bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters and entertainment venues, as well as indoor gyms and other fitness establishments, to obtain proof of vaccination from their patrons and employees in order for them to go inside those facilities. This does not include individuals ordering or picking up food or drink to go. The Health Order is designed to protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated, while keeping businesses open and helping to ensure schools remain open.

Additionally, San Francisco’s order creates a new proof of vaccination requirement for large events at indoor venues, requiring attendees who are age 12 or older at events with 1,000 people or more to provide proof of vaccination. Previously, state and local rules required proof of vaccination or testing to attend indoor mega-events with 5,000 people or more. Under the updated San Francisco order, providing a self-attestation of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in lieu of proof of vaccination are no longer options for people 12 and older to attend these indoor large or mega-events. Sponsors of outdoor events with more than 5,000 people attending are strongly urged to require proof of vaccination for patrons and staff.

The health order also extends vaccination requirements to certain health care providers—including workers at adult day centers, residential care facilities, dental offices, home health aides and pharmacists—who are not included in the state health order on vaccinations.

“We know that for our city to bounce back from the pandemic and thrive, we need to use the best method we have to fight COVID-19 and that’s vaccines,” said Mayor Breed. “Many San Francisco businesses are already leading the way by requiring proof of vaccination for their customers because they care about the health of their employees, their customers, and this City. This order builds on their leadership and will help us weather the challenges ahead and keep our businesses open. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely.”  

The updates to San Francisco’s Safer Return Together Health Order are a response to the continued spread of COVID-19 most recently driven by the Delta variant primarily among unvaccinated people. While the City this week reported that 78% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated, the current surge in new cases demonstrates the need for additional measures to close the remaining gap of unvaccinated people, while protecting those not yet eligible for vaccines such as children under the age of 12. San Francisco fully reopened for business on June 15 and has since seen encouraging signs that the economy is coming back to life, a rebound the City wants to maintain. San Francisco public schools are also reopening Monday for in-person instruction.

The health order requirement for proof of full vaccination for patrons of indoor public settings, including bars, restaurants, clubs and gyms goes into effect on August 20. This requirement includes indoor event spaces where food or drink is served. By that same date, those businesses must use their best efforts to ascertain the vaccination status of their employees. To preserve jobs while giving time for compliance, the proof of vaccination requirement for staff goes into effect October 13 for employees.

The vaccination requirements for indoor events, both private and public, that have 1,000 people or more in attendance go into effect on August 20. There is a limited exception for those events where tickets were sold before August 12 for events occurring by September 15; instead, those events may allow proof of negative testing as an alternative to proof of vaccination. The additional health care workers covered by the update to the order must be fully vaccinated by October 13.

The requirements may be subject to limited exemptions under state and federal law. Also, the new requirements for proof of vaccination do not apply to individuals ineligible for vaccinations, including children under 12 years old. But everyone, including children two years and older, still must comply with applicable indoor mask requirements under local and state health rules.

“In this phase of the pandemic, we must optimize the powerful tool of vaccines to protect us as we fully reopen to business,” said Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax. “These past few weeks have demonstrated how important it is that everyone eligible is vaccinated as we resume normal activities.”

“We are issuing these new health requirements because indoor, public settings where people congregate in close quarters, often with their masks off, are a main way that the virus spreads,” said Acting Health Officer, Dr. Naveena Bobba. “With the increased COVID-19 case rates, we need everybody who is eligible for a vaccine to get one now.” 

San Francisco’s current 7-day average daily cases is 246 and the test positivity rate is 5.6%. This is compared to the peak of the winter surge when daily cases averaged 373 and the test positivity rate was 5.2%. As of August 8, 109 people were hospitalized, compared to 265 at the peak of the winter surge. The numbers demonstrate that even as cases soar, today’s surge is much less deadly than the previous ones with the most severe cases and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated.  

The updated health care order puts another measure in place to boost vaccination rates. The City and County of San Francisco has required that all 35,000 City employees be vaccinated 10 weeks after final approval of one of the vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is expected shortly. Additionally, all employees at “high risk” healthcare and congregate settings, including acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, homeless shelters, jails, and other locations, must also be vaccinated by September 15.  

“Two weeks ago, we started requiring proof of vaccination to dine inside in an effort to ensure the safety of our staff and our customers. We are thrilled to see San Francisco move boldly to make this a citywide policy as we strongly believe this is the best way to get beyond this pandemic,” said Mat Shuster, Chef/Owner of Canela Bistro & Wine Bar.

“The San Francisco Venue Coalition fully supports the City and Mayor Breed's efforts to keep us all safe, healthy, and best prepared to fortify the City against the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. These increased provisions hopefully will expedite all public gathering places ability get back to doing what we all love—being a space for community in service to all San Franciscans,” said Casey Lowdermilk, Co-Founder of the San Francisco Venue Coalition.

DPH is also making it increasingly easy and convenient to get vaccinated, last week launching a new mobile vaccination team called Vax to You that will vaccinate small groups of five to 12 people in their homes and workplaces by appointment when they organize groups of interested individuals. Business owners can take advantage of this service by reaching out to the mobile vax team. For information about finding a safe, free and convenient COVID-19 vaccine, visit sf.gov/getvaccinated. For information on the new requirements, visit sf.gov/vaxrequired.

Businesses can access SFDPH’s COVID-19 Outreach Toolkit with flyers, posters and other materials.

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Sours: https://sfmayor.org/article/san-francisco-require-proof-vaccination-entry-certain-indoor-businesses-and-all-large-indoor
COVID Reopening: Struggling Restaurants Face Uphill Battle In San Francisco

Bay Area restaurants expect slow return to normal even after California's reopening

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You'll notice things will look a bit different beginning Tuesday, June 15 at restaurants around the state.

The "new" normal of course will be a return to the old. Restauranteurs warn it may take patrons a while to get used to it.

RELATED: Outdoor dining parklets could become permanent in SF

"It's going to be a little weird to start with," said Laurie Thomas of Rosa's Cafe in San Francisco, describing the new normal in California restaurants.

The executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association says bars will once again be able to seat customers shoulder to shoulder.

Restaurants will increase the number of tables and begin returning to full capacity.

Masks will no longer be required, with a few exceptions.

VIDEO: Bay Area restaurant owners face complicated task amid changing mask rules


"If a customer is vaccinated, it is then by their actions of not wearing a mask, they're showing us that they're vaccinated and following the state and San Francisco guidelines," said Thomas. "We'll be putting signs up that say if you're not vaccinated, then you need and are required to wear a mask."

Employees will also be required to wear a mask, at least until Cal/OSHA finalizes its rules as early as its next meeting on June 17.

"I think that most restaurants are going to leave it up to the employees whether or not they want to wear a mask," said Pete Sittnick of Waterbar and EPIC Steak.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom says vaccinated CA workers won't have to wear masks after June 17

Staffing shortages remain a problem. That means some tables will remain empty until restaurants can get back to full staff.

"We probably are staffed at about 70% where we were," Sittnick said.

Outdoor dining will be a big part of most restaurant's futures.

"Oh, my God, we desperately need outdoor dining," said Thomas. "We're trying to keep many people employed and trying to earn back all of those lost dollars and losses from being closed."

She says mask-wearing for customers will be on the honor system. Those vaccinated will be protected, even without masks. But health experts say those taking the risks are those who are not vaccinated and not wearing masks indoors.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Sours: https://abc7news.com/food-beverage-and-industry-restaurant/10790108/

You will also be interested:

Last August, California started using a color-coded risk level assessment to determine a county’s reopening status. Indoor and outdoor businesses, like restaurants and gyms, that are allowed to reopen depend on the county’s risk level, classified as “widespread” (purple), “substantial” (red), “moderate” (orange), or “minimal” (yellow).

As vaccination rates increase, the Bay Area is starting to reopen indoor businesses for the first time since last March. Currently, San Francisco County is in the least-restrictive yellow tier. Below you’ll find information about reopening dates, and what’s open for dine-in, broken down by county. We’ll be updating it as we get more information, so keep checking back. And for the most up-to-date information right in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On May 4th, the city moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted. These changes will go into effect May 6th.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
    • Here’s a list of over 400 SF restaurants that are currently open for outdoor dining. You can find our list of places with heat lamps and fire pits here.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On June 8th, Alameda County moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
    • For a list of East Bay restaurants that are open for outdoor dining, head here.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Moderate” risk (orange), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On April 6th, Contra Costa County moved to the orange tier, meaning indoor dining can reopen at 50% capacity (or 200 people, whichever is fewer). The county is also allowing bars that do not serve food to open for outdoor drinking, with proper social distancing guidelines.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
    • For a list of East Bay restaurants that are open for outdoor dining, head here.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On June 8th, Napa County moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Moderate” risk (orange), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On April 6th, Sonoma County moved to the orange tier, meaning indoor dining can reopen at 50% capacity (or 200 people, whichever is fewer). The county is also allowing bars that do not serve food to open for outdoor drinking, with proper social distancing guidelines.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On June 1st, Marin County moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Moderate” risk (orange), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On June 1st, Solano County moved to the orange tier, meaning indoor dining can reopen at 50% capacity (or 200 people, whichever is fewer). The county is also allowing bars that do not serve food to open for outdoor drinking, with proper social distancing guidelines.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On May 11th, San Mateo County moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On May 18th, Santa Clara County moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Current status: “Minimal” risk (yellow), Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining

The Latest Update: On May 18th, Santa Cruz County moved to the yellow tier, meaning bars that don’t serve food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Indoor dining remains at 50%, but the 200-person cap is lifted.

  • Outdoor Dining: Open.
  • Indoor Dining: Open at 50% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor drinking allowed. Indoor drinking is allowed at 25% capacity.
  • Bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food: Takeout, delivery, and outdoor and indoor dining (at 50% capacity) allowed.

  • You can find more information in the county’s health orders.

Sours: https://www.theinfatuation.com/san-francisco/features/bay-area-restaurant-reopenings-update


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