San Francisco Requires Proof of Vaccination for Bars, Restaurants, Gyms, and Certain Indoor Venues

Starting August 20, 2021, San Francisco will become the first major city to require full vaccination for patrons entering a bar, restaurant, gym, or indoor venue that serves food and drinks. On August 12, 2021, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) issued an Order requiring such businesses to check proof of full vaccination of both patrons 12 years and older and staff for entering an indoor portion of the business’s facility, with limited exceptions. The Order also adds a face-covering requirement for individuals in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, with limited exceptions.

The Order further requires businesses and governmental entities in High-Risk and Other Health Care Settings to ascertain the vaccination status of all Personnel in High-Risk Settings who routinely work onsite, and ensure that before entering or working in any High-Risk Setting, all Personnel who routinely work onsite are fully vaccinated.

Under the Order, “Personnel” means the following people who provide goods or services associated with a Business in the County: employees; contractors and subcontractors (such as those who sell goods or perform services onsite or who deliver goods for the business); independent contractors; vendors who are permitted to sell goods onsite; volunteers; and other individuals who regularly provide services onsite at the request of the business. “Personnel” includes “gig workers” who perform work via the business’s app or other online interfaces, if any.

Personnel in High-Risk Settings are exempt from the vaccination requirement if they provide the requesting business or governmental entity a declination form, signed by the individual under penalty of perjury stating either of the following: (1) the individual is declining vaccination based on Religious Beliefs or (2) the individual is excused from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine due to Qualifying Medical Reasons. Exempted Personnel must get tested for COVID-19 at least once a week (and at least twice a week for unvaccinated exempt Personnel in general acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities) and wear a face covering at all times. The SFDPH has published a Sample Personnel Vaccination Program Ascertainment Form and Sample Personnel Vaccination Program Declination Form that can be accessed here.

The Order places additional requirements and obligations on Schools and Programs for Children and Youth; and businesses, governmental entities, and other organizations hosting Mega-Events and Large Indoor Events, as defined in the Order.

Most California employers are not only required to continue complying with the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) but must also ensure that they are complying with any local order or regulation that may be stricter than the ETS. Members with operations in San Francisco can contact the California Legal Services team at with any questions about this Order.