Berkeley to mandate vaccination for some businesses’ employees, patrons

photo of a COVID-19 vaccination card
Anthony Angel Pérez/Staff
City of Berkeley Health Officer Lisa Hernandez issued an order Wednesday requiring certain businesses and organizations to verify the vaccination statuses of employees and patrons before allowing them into indoor spaces.

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The city of Berkeley health officer issued an order Wednesday that will require certain businesses to verify vaccination of employees and, in some businesses, also verify the vaccination of patrons that are 12 years of age and older. 

According to a press release from the city of Berkeley, starting Sept. 10, businesses and some organizations that serve food and drinks, offer trainings or exercises or operate large indoor events under specific guidelines must require proof of full vaccination and a photo ID from patrons before allowing them to enter an indoor area. The employees at these businesses must also be fully vaccinated.

The mandate focuses on businesses operating indoors, since places like restaurants and bars will have people removing their face coverings in order to eat or drink. Additionally, at businesses such as gyms and dance studios, people will be breathing more heavily.

“Not only do vaccinations lower each person’s risk of infection and sickness, they increase our entire community’s safety,” said City of Berkeley Health Officer Lisa Hernandez in the press release.

Additionally, beginning Sept. 10, operators of large indoor events for 1,000 people or more, with tickets sold before Sept. 3 must require patrons to show either proof of full vaccination or negative PCR or antigen test results from the last 72 hours.

Beginning Oct. 15, these venues can only accept proof of full vaccination. 

By Oct. 15, vaccination or weekly testing will also be required at adult care facilities, adult day programs, dental offices, pharmacies, all childcare facilities and for home health care workers and employers.

At these businesses proof of vaccination is required from all employees, contractors, volunteers, custodians, maintenance workers and other workers who might enter the business’s building.

Workers can state their religious or medical objections, and must provide weekly negative test results instead.

Proof of vaccination can be accepted through a vaccination card issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or a foreign governmental jurisdiction, a photo or copy of a vaccination card, documentation of vaccination from a health care provider, a personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record or an authentic digital record which includes a QR code that will display vaccination information when scanned by a SMART Health Card reader.

Mela Seyoum is a deputy news editor. Contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @MelaSeyoum.