Berkeley Begins to Require Patrons at Some Businesses to Show Vaccination Proof

On the first day of the new rules, compliance appeared to be spotty at best, and resistance was high

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If you're heading out in Berkeley, you're going to need a mask and your vaccination card.

The city has implemented new rules requiring people 12 and older to provide proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter places like restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment venues, gyms, yoga studios, dance studios and any venue that has at least 1,000 people.

The managers of several Berkeley restaurants said they’re hesitant to speak publicly and hesitant to ask anyone for a vaccination card. The owner of one retail store said he simply won’t do it.

Peter Kemel, owner of Model Shoe Renew, said he feels for his neighbors trying to run restaurants and other businesses with the new rules in place. The rules currently don't apply to retail.

"I don’t like that," he said. "A lot of people don’t want the vaccine. A lot of people don’t want to put this medicine in their bodies. I think it affects business, of course"

If the city expands the mandate to retail, Kemel said he'll likely ignore the order.

"I don’t believe in that, and I’m not going to ask them," he said. "Welcome to everybody walking into my store. I’m not asking for anything."

The city does plan to expand the rules in mid-October. The vaccination or testing proof will also be required at adult care facilities, dental offices, pharmacies, child care and home health care centers.

Some Berkeley residents support the new rules.

"If that’s what prevents more COVID spread from happening in Berkeley, then I think that’s a price that we should pay," Beckett Ellis-Chatman said.

Other residents do not.

"It’s like a form of segregation," Paradise, who did not share their last name, said. "It’s dividing the nation."

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