SAN FRANCISCO - Monday was the deadline for all San Francisco workers to be fully vaccinated.
City employees were finally able to return to the office instead of working remotely. For months City Hall was closed to the public and when it did reopen, only a few workers were allowed inside. On Monday, City Hall was bustling with the overwhelming majority of city workers vaccinated and back on the job.
The city estimates that 98% of employees are fully vaccinated, only about 1,000 of the city's more than 30,000 employees remain unvaccinated.
"We have no interest or desire to separate city employees," said Carol Isen, San Francisco's Human Resources Director. "We want everyone to stay working and we're doing everything we can to talk to every city employee individually and we hope that we don't have to separate anybody in the end."
Those who are now fully vaccinated are now required to return to the office at least two days a week after more than a year and a half of working remotely.
"We're really excited about it," said Isen. "People are making their way back, people are going to begin riding public transit again, they're going to be populating the Civic Center and other areas of the city."
The head of the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development said it's important for city workers to provide a role model for returning to work and stimulating the economy surrounding city offices.
"In this area where we stand, City Hall, Civic Center, one of the toughest areas that have been hit hard by the pandemic, our city employees are part of the economic recovery," said Kate Sofis from San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "We go out, we buy coffee, we support the local restaurants."
Just a block and a half away from City Hall, Gyro King has always been one of the go-to spots for city employees to grab lunch.
Nuri Citaci said business is still slow and could use the influx of city workers.
"Thank you very much for the good news," said Citaci. "But, I think it's not enough. The city right now is empty."
While Monday was the deadline for city workers to be fully inoculated, the city isn't moving to separate employees right away. Those employees who are not vaccinated will first get notices from the city's human resources department and if they've asked for an exemption they will get a hearing to determine what will happen.