Bars in San Fran will force patrons show proof of COVID vaccine or negative test to go inside

Bar owners in San Francisco will soon require patrons to show proof that they have either received a COVID-19 vaccine or have tested negative for the virus before being allowed to drink indoors, reports said on Tuesday.

“The SF Bar Owner Alliance, representing hundreds of establishments, will require proof of vaccination or 72-hour negative test for any patrons indoors,” District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney wrote on Twitter in a post that included a photo of the alliance’s statement.

The statement says that bar owners are “extremely concerned” about new outbreaks of COVID-19 “among our staff members, especially those who are fully vaccinated.” The organization added that members feel “obligated to protect our workers and their families and to offer a safe space for customers to relax and socialize.”

The alliance said that the new mandates will take effect on Thursday after polling members.

“It will be the official position of the SF Bar Owner Alliance that any customer who wishes to remain inside our establishments show proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID19 test,” the statement continued. “Guests without these verifications are welcome to sit outside in parklets or other spaces we offer. It will be up to each individual bar to decide how best to enforce this for their customers.”

The statement emphasized that the decision was made to protect patrons and bar staff alike, but also to encourage more people to get the jab, despite already acknowledging that bar staff who are vaccinated have come down with the virus anyway.

“…[W]e hope [the decision] might also influence some who have not yet received vaccinations to do so as soon as they are able,” the statement says. “We understand that the only way our society (and our businesses) can ever return to true normalcy is through higher rates of vaccinations among our residents, not just in San Francisco but across the United States of America.”

According to reports, nearly 300 bars belong to the alliance. Alliance president Ben Bleiman said 85 percent of members backed the new mandates. City government statistics indicate that about 69 percent of residents are fully vaccinated for the virus, a figure that includes 76 percent of all eligible residents in San Fran aged 12 and older.

“Proof of vaccination either means you have your actual card or photo of your card. But that’s only inside,” one manager, Texas Enkil, told NBC Bay Area. “Outside you can dine or drink in our beer garden, no proof of vaccination required.”

Other establishments that don’t have outdoor seating have required all staff members and outside talent such as musicians to be fully vaccinated in order to work and enter as well, the NBC affiliate added.

“It was done in order to keep our staff, our community, our musicians safe and hopefully to prevent another shutdown,” said Jay Bordeleau, owner of Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio, a jazz club.

The San Fran bar decision comes amid another escalating debate over new COVID mandates that apply even to vaccinated Americans who were promised normalcy if they took the jab.

On Tuesday, for instance, the Biden administration announced via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it was recommending all school-aged children returning to in-person classes this year be made to wear masks all day long, despite studies showing that can be harmful to kids.

Also, the White House is recommending new masking mandates even for vaccinated people though a recent study found that they are highly effective at preventing the original COVID strain as well as the new Delta variant.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson blasted the new guidance during his Tuesday evening show, saying that the guidance makes no scientific sense and is being issued merely “because we said so.”

Jon Dougherty

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