vaccine mandate

San Francisco's Strict Vaccine Mandate Adding Strain on Restaurant Workers

NBC Universal, Inc.

Popular bars and restaurants in San Francisco say the city’s new “prove you’re vaccinated” mandate could have an extra consequence -- longer lines to get a table.

The new rules are adding to the restaurant workers’ workload, at a time when the entire industry is already dealing with a labor shortage.

Any restaurant along the Embarcadero is going to attract tourists who might not be aware of the new vaccine rule. 

In the case of restaurants like Waterbar, the hostess will have to take on the role of the vaccine bouncer – letting in those who have proof of vaccination, and barring those who don’t. 

The restaurant manager worries that could lead to longer wait times for patrons. 

“It will be a little bit more challenging for us, we’re already scrambling as it is,” said Pete Sittnick.

From the kitchen staff shucking oysters to the waiters serving wine, you won’t find a Waterbar employee standing still on a Friday afternoon during the lunch rush hour. But starting Friday, the restaurant is going to have to make sure anyone who eats inside has their proof of vaccination card. 

“We are scrambling to try and find people to work with us, this particular check-in and verification is going to really add one more if not a couple more people into the process,” said Sittnick. 

One scenario that worries him is how to handle a large group where only one person is not vaccinated. 

“We’re nimble; we try to be as good as we can. And you know what? We’re probably going to piss somebody off,” Sittnick said.

It’s a concern he brought up to Supervisor Matt Haney, who happened to be dining outside. 

“No restaurant is going to be punished because they let that one person in, that’s not the intention,” said Haney. “We’re not going to ask you to police everyone. Do the best you can.”

For the first time in over a year Friday, the Aragones family traveled from Dublin to San Francisco for some sightseeing. 

Charissa Aragones applauds the city’s proof of vaccine mandate. Her 10-year-old daughter is the only family member exempted from the mandate because she’s too young to receive the vaccine. 

“I was kind of on edge coming; this will be our first dine-in experience here, so knowing that, I think I will come more often with my family,” she said.

Retail shops and grocery stores are not subject to the proof of vaccine requirement. Those who wish to dine outside also do not have to show proof of vaccination.

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