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San Francisco's Popular Zuni Cafe To Require COVID Booster Proof From Diners

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- With the omicron variant outbreak growing larger every day, the owners of San Francisco's popular Zuni Cafe have announced they will be requiring indoor diners to not only provide the city mandated proof of COVID vaccination but also confirmation they have gotten a booster shot.

They said the requirement -- the toughest of any San Francisco restaurant -- was being instituted to protect the health of its staff from the extremely contagious strain.

"We remain disinterested in invading your medical records and we have a strong desire to keep the guests and workers of Zuni Cafe safe," the owners said on an Instagram post. "We look forward to a time when this will not be necessary."

The owners said the booster requirement for indoor dining will go into effect on Wednesday, December 29th. There also is one exception.

"Diners 4 years and younger who are ineligible for vaccinations are welcome to dine indoors with their party," the post said. "Diners without proof of vaccination are welcome as guests at our outdoor tables."

Other Bay Area restaurants face also facing difficult choices as the omicron outbreak continues to grow.

"We had someone on the team test positive for COVID yesterday morning so we had to cancel the whole event and it's incredibly frustrating," said Imana, the creator of Hi Felicia Supper Club.

The project hosts dinners in Oakland as a pop-up but a restaurant is one of their goals for 2022. For now, their service is on hold and they will take January off to regroup.

Restaurants in Oakland and the South Bay have also posted limited service or temporary closures on social media.

"We've had such a year and 2021 was starting to look a little promising but it is what it is," said Tracy Marin, the regional manager of Asian Box in San Francisco.

The Cow Hollow neighborhood in San Francisco has many restaurants with various degrees of COVID restrictions depending on the business. Some have stayed in a takeout only format, others kept the safety measures they first brought out at the beginning of the pandemic.

"We are telling our stores to bring back hand sanitizers, in the stores we are making sure that everyone is wearing the proper masks, we have sneeze guards up," Marin told KPIX 5.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association sent a newsletter to members on Monday encouraging the booster for any restaurant staff eligible for the additional dose as a way to protect from the omicron variant.

"It's just the new normal I think, we have to get used to this new variant," Imana said.

The California Restaurant Association said in a statement that the latest variant is evidence that the pandemic continues to impact restaurants. The CRA said the industry will need help to come out of the challenges of the past two years.

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