CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) – To stop the spread of COVID, Contra Costa County is joining cities like San Francisco and Berkeley to require proof of vaccination or a negative test to step into certain businesses. The announcement was made Tuesday and it will take effect next week.
The order (.pdf), which goes into effect on September 22, 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.
Officials also announced all workers in businesses affected by the health order must 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 Tuesday.
Contra Costa Health Services issued the order as COVID-19 case rates remain at levels not seen since February as the Delta variant spreads largely among the unvaccinated.
The 4th Bore Tap Room and Grill, in Orinda is one of the many businesses in Contra Costa County that will be required to check for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for every diner that walks in.
"I think it's a good call, most of our community is vaccinated any way so I think it will be a smooth transition," says general manager Travis Tunney.
Tunney just heard about the new requirement and is working to implement a system to comply with the order that takes effect on September 22. Many of the residents we spoke to support the requirement.
"I feel that would be fine," says Orinda resident David Adelberg. "I don't have a problem with it."
Michelle Meyers adds, "In some ways it will make me feel a lot better and a lot more comfortable 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."
For Meyers, showing her vaccine card is her way to help her community.
"I've been willing to sacrifice a little bit of privacy for the health of all of us around and we've all had to do something that we're not happy with," says Meyers.
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 in the first seven days in September, 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.
Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.
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