SAN FRANCISCO - Could you be required to be vaccinated to enter an indoor venue in the Bay Area? Some cities are now considering a mandate following New York City’s lead. City leaders in San Francisco and Berkeley are pushing for a mandate.
Following New York’s announcement requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurants, gyms and theaters, some Bay Area cities may follow.
"We are exploring that right now," said San Francisco’s Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax. "We’ve seen a number of bars and restaurants and other entities are doing that."
"I would not be surprised if you see a similar order come down for San Francisco or the Bay Area counties as soon as this week," said San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney.
Haney is among those pushing for a vaccine mandate in the Bay Area as COVID hospitalizations surge.
"We are in danger of actually going back to seeing case levels and hospitalizations at the level we had at the height of this pandemic," said Haney.
Berkeley’s mayor said that city is also exploring proof of the shot.
"I’ve heard more people ask that there be proof of vaccination than being forced to wear a mask indoors," said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin.
Alameda County is not considering it for now. A statement reads in part, "Emerging research shows vaccinated people may also spread the delta variant. Businesses can choose to implement vaccination verification systems but it shouldn’t replace requiring everyone to wear masks."
Dr. Monica Gandhi of UCSF supports a vaccine mandate. She said the bottom line is the country needs more immunity.
"I don’t think anyone thinks we can mask our way out of this pandemic or socially distance or ventilate because we did all of that," said Dr. Gandhi.
Many Bay Area bars, restaurants and theatres are already requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination at the door.
At 3 Below Theatres in San Jose, business boomed after implementing it.
"We had people attending the movies, coming to dine at the café, writing to us saying I will see you this weekend," said 3 Below Vice President Shannon Guggenheim.
"We don’t want to be shut down so get vaccinated," said Tony & Alba’s Owner Albert Vallorz.
At Tony & Alba’s Restaurant in San Jose, Cornelo Balmaceda forgot his vaccination card and wasn’t able to dine inside.
"It’s okay I didn't get offended," said Balmaceda. "It’s the right thing to do."
There are questions surrounding implementation and enforcement. Some businesses said they’ve had challengers but for the most part, they’ve received broad support. However, what could be problematic is if this isn’t a regional mandate.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.