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State to require vaccination proof at indoor events with 1,000 or more

Starting Sept. 20, anyone attending an indoor event with 1,000 or more people in California will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event, the state Department of Health announced Wednesday.

Health officials lowered the threshold of what the state considered a “mega” indoor event from 5,000 to 1,000 people and will not allow people to self-attest to their vaccination status or negative Covid-19 test.

The new rules do not apply to outdoor mega events (10,000 or more people), but officials are recommending outdoor events to follow those same rules.

Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the state’ public health director, said in a statement:

“By requiring individuals to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 at large events, we are decreasing the risk of infection, hospitalization and death.”

San Francisco announced a similar change last week requiring proof of vaccination for anyone eligible for the vaccine and attending an event with 1,000 or more people. City health officials said a negative Covid-19 test will be unacceptable. The change will take effect Friday along with other vaccination requirements for indoor businesses, city officials said Wednesday during a webinar.

Patrons aged 12 and older must provide proof of full vaccination along with a photo ID when entering indoor businesses, like restaurants, bars and gym facilities, said Dr. Susun Philip, The City’s public health officer.

Acceptable forms of proof include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards (electronic copy or copy acceptable), documentation from a health care provider or the digital vaccination record issued by the state.

Employees of many indoor businesses will also be required to prove vaccination to their employers by Oct. 13.

Staff in high-risk settings, such as adult daycare facilities, adult day programs, dental offices, home health care workers and pharmacies, will also have to meet the Oct. 13 deadline.

During a webinar, Mayor London Breed encouraged people to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the delta variant, saying:

“If you are not vaccinated, this is just the most dangerous time in the entire pandemic. If you’re not vaccinated, it’s not a matter of if you will catch the virus, it’s now a matter of when.”

The seven-day average of new cases per day dropped to 203 as of Aug. 8, down from the 287 recorded on Aug 2, according to city data. A total of 115 Covid-19 patients are in hospitalized.

City officials also spoke about enforcement of the new vaccination rules for indoor businesses. Patrick Fosdahl, director of the Environmental Health Branch with the city health department, said they try to educate and conduct outreach before using enforcement tools available to them, adding:

“We take this education first approach because we really need your cooperation. We have learned long ago that enforcement will only get us so far.”

If education fails, Fosdahl said the department can issue businesses violation notices with explanation of how to correct the issue, typically within a 24-hour period.

The department could shut businesses down until they have updated their health and safety plan to ensure compliance, and issue fines of up to $1,000 a day per violation, Fosdahl said.

If all else fails, the department can turn to the City Attorney’s Office for help with compliance.

Fosdahl said the department last year responded to more than 3,000 complaints related to Covid-19, some coming from customers who see businesses out of health order compliance.

Meanwhile, city public health officials announced that they are now offering the third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to immunocompromised residents.

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