Dining in Experiences; San Francisco

San Francisco requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for patrons to dine indoors. As of Aug. 12, businesses have had to adapt to more changes as the pandemic continues. 

The City and County of San Francisco (CCOSF) announced that this health order” [has been] 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.” 

Over 94,000 small businesses (corner stores/restaurants/shops) operate out of the city, according to the CCSOF. Some have had better experiences adjusting to the mandate. The common opinion among several businesses is to do the best they can to keep doors open and employees safe. 

Imperial Tea Court is a famous restaurant that opened in the early 90s located in The Ferry Building on Embarcadero. 

Another location is set in Northern Berkeley where the city requires proof of vaccination before entry. The City of Berkeley emphasizes how restaurant environments hold high risks, “airborne droplets or particles containing the virus spread easily”

One of the employees oF Imperial Tea Court, who wishes to remain unnamed, has worked at the Embarcadero location since its opening in 2005. 

He emphasized that he feels safe in his work environment and will continue to follow any guidelines presented by the city. He stated that he’s always been in favor of a vaccine, whether or not it was required to go to work. 

According to the unnamed employee, there are more residents and businesses who are willing to follow guidelines than those who are not, “I haven’t heard of a business not wanting to comply. In San Francisco, people are very pro-vaccination.”

He also noted that although the business has picked back up again, it is not as busy as it used to be. The employee believes it’s due to the end of summer and there aren’t as many tourists. Johnson said visitors from all around the world come to Embarcadero, and he’s had several patrons who didn’t want to comply. 

“Sometimes I’m kind of fearful that a customer could be an anti-vaxxer and be volatile,” responded the employee when asked about those who don’t want to show vaccination proof. Thankfully nothing worrisome has occurred at the Tea Court. 

Locations with outdoor dining have the advantage, as they’re able to serve those who do not wish to show proof or have yet to get the vaccine. 

A popular location located right above the BART stop on Powell St. is the Westfield Mall. Thousands of people stop here to get to work or to enjoy the 170+ shops. The food court serves desserts, smoothie shops, and various Asian cuisines. However, to dine in, you must present your vaccine proof to a security guard before entering the dining area. 

One factor that some may not be aware of is that the mall has a terrace on the ninth floor where people can eat outdoors if they don’t have proof. There are plenty of tables and chairs, all with a delightful view of the Theater District. 

Jose Hernandez is a security guard for the mall and has worked in this location for about six months. According to Hernandez, for the most part, people are on board and comply with the rules.

“I haven’t had to remove anyone who didn’t want to comply.”

Hernandez has only worked as a security guard and is very used to the changing CDC guidelines. He, like Johnson, does believe the city is very used to the changes and comply. 

“There are a few ways that people can show proof, which makes it easier.” Hernandez refers to the physical vaccine card and apps (depending on where you got the vaccine) with the QR code you can download to your smartphone that holds your information. 

If you don’t have the vaccine card, you can download an online version of the verification through Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record. (https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/ ) A QR code appears with your name and the dates you received the vaccine(s). 

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