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Contra Costa County Toughens COVID Requirements For Indoor Activities

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) -- Contra Costa County joined San Francisco and Berkeley Wednesday in requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test at the door to step inside certain businesses.

The order applies to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. It also applies to all indoor fitness facilities, including gyms, yoga and dance studios.

All workers in the businesses affected by the health order will need to present proof of vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing starting November 1.

"This order is necessary now to save lives, protect our overburdened healthcare system, and slow the pandemic enough to keep our schools open," Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said when issuing the order last week.

Outside a 24-Hour Fitness gym in Walnut Creek early Wednesday, Ken Regalla said he was prepared for the new order.

"I had to make sure it (his vaccination card) was with me because I didn't want to show up and be turned back," he said.

For the most part, the health order also has gotten support from businesses and residents in Orinda.

It was busy night at the 4th Bore Tap Room and Grill in Orinda where the staff will be required to check for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

"I think it's a good call, most of our community is vaccinated any way so I think it will be a smooth transition," said General Manager Travis Tunney.

Meanwhile, many local residents were also voicing their support.

"I feel that would be fine," said David Adelberg from Orinda. "I don't have a problem with it."

"In some ways, it will make me feel a lot better and a lot more comfortable," Michelle Meyers added. "But at the same time it does make me feel a little uneasy about the kind of the state we're in where we have we have to hand over a piece of paper."

Health officials said there were 15 COVID-19 related deaths in the county from August 25-31. From September 1-7, the county reported 20 virus-related deaths -- the two highest seven-day totals since March.

Officials said unvaccinated residents have case rates that are about five times as high as the fully vaccinated, hospitalizations rates that are about 16 times higher and death rates that are about 22 times higher.

"Reducing community transmission of the virus now is key to preventing future spikes in cases from overwhelming our county's hospitals during the winter months," Farnitano said.

Proof of vaccination would be accepted in multiple forms, including a person's CDC vaccination card, a copy or photo of one's card, documentation from a healthcare provider or the state's digital vaccine record. Negative test results would also be accepted, but only within the last three days.

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