Starting Thursday, hundreds of San Francisco bars will require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test before they can drink inside.
The decision was made by the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance, a coalition of more than 500 bars in the city, reported The Washington Post (July 27). Though it’s up to individual bars to participate, many members have opted in, according to Ben Bleiman, the organization’s founder.
Bleiman told The Washington Post that the idea came about three weeks ago when he and other members saw a “very concerning surge” of vaccinated bar workers coming down with the virus.
The move follows lagging vaccination rates and rising infections. Confirmed cases nationwide have quadrupled from an average of 13,000 per day at the beginning of July to 55,000.
At the same time, just about half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated. The low rates are promoting organizations to require vaccines, with economic progress in jeopardy.
DELTA VARIANT THREATENS ECONOMIC PROGRESS
Michelle Meyer, the Chief U.S. economist for Bank of America, believes the Delta variant of COVID-19 could undermine the progress made by businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector, reported CBS News (July 26).
As pandemic-related restrictions have loosened around the country, consumers have driven economic recovery with the help of stimulus payments, spending again on travel and dining out.
“They reinforce one another very powerfully, and that created a burst of economic activity over the past few months,” Meyer told CBS. “And the risk is the threat from Delta will cause a speed bump for the economy when it comes to engagement in these activities.”
The Bank of America economist added that, if restaurants must once-again restrict capacity, or revert to outdoor dining, consumer spending will naturally fall.
FIRST STEPS TAKEN
San Francisco bars are not alone in their vaccination requirements. Vaccine mandates are popping up in multiple spots throughout the country, mainly for workers.
With COVID cases in his city growing to over 800 per day, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that all Gotham workers, or about 340,000 employees, must be vaccinated or agree to weekly testing by September 13, reported Morning Brew (July 27).
California Governor Gavin Newsom quote-tweeted de Blasio’s announcement and wrote that his state will require all 246,000 public employees to get vaccinated or schedule a weekly test date. So far, slightly over 64% of California residents are partially vaccinated.
Meanwhile, The Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require COVID-19 vaccines for its 115,000 healthcare employees on July 26. And, prior to the aforementioned announcements, 57 influential medical groups published a letter urging employers to require vaccines for all healthcare personnel.