Contra Costa County to require proof of full COVID-19 vax for bars, restaurants, gyms

A doorman at Oasis checks a customer's vaccination card before allowing him to enter on July 29, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
A doorman at Oasis checks a customer's vaccination card before allowing him to enter on July 29, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Many indoor businesses in Contra Costa County will require customers to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination starting next week.

The county on Tuesday announced that patrons of bars, entertainment venues, restaurants, gyms and indoor fitness facilities will need to provide proof of full vaccination starting Sept. 22. Those businesses can also accept a negative COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours, county health officials said. Customers younger than 12, who aren't yet eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, are exempt.

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Workers at those businesses must show proof of full vaccination by Nov. 1 or submit to weekly testing.

"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," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said in a statement.

Although nearly 80% of county residents older than 12 are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Contra Costa County health officials said there were more COVID-related deaths from Aug. 25-31 (15) and Sept. 1-7 (20) than any other seven-day stretch since the start of the pandemic due to the spread of the delta variant.

The county averaged 32.8 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 unvaccinated residents as of Sept. 8, according to its most recent data, compared to 6.7 cases per 100,000 vaccinated residents. Contra Costa County officials said death rates are about 22 times higher in unvaccinated rates, and hospitalization rates are 16 times higher.

A photo ID and a physical U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention vaccination record, a copy or picture of that card, California’s digital vaccination record or documentation from a healthcare provider can be accepted as proof of vaccination.

The county said it will not accept negative results from an at-home COVID-19 test, requiring documentation of a test through a customer’s healthcare provider, or from a county-run or state-run site.

Eligible Contra Costa County residents can schedule a vaccination appointment here. The county also has a list of open testing sites, with scheduling information, here.

San Francisco and Berkeley are the only other Bay Area jurisdictions with similar mandates. Berkeley allows customers to provide proof of a negative test, while San Francisco does not.