Reopening Updates for Businesses and Workplaces Impacted by COVID-19

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UPDATE: 8/12 - San Francisco to require proof of vaccination for entry to certain indoor businesses and all large indoor events

GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 vaccine info for San Francisco

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As of August 20th, patrons of certain businesses are required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before entering indoors.

By August 20, 2021, San Francisco will require businesses in certain high-contact indoor sectors to obtain proof of vaccination from their patrons and employees in order for them to go inside those facilities. 

This includes those that serve food or drink indoors like bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters, and entertainment venues, as well as indoor gyms and other fitness establishments. The newly updated Health Order includes a number of important changes that will protect our communities, pull us out of the pandemic, and allow our businesses to continue to bounce back and thrive.

You can read more details below, as well as a summary at
In all indoor public settings, the Orders require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings with limited exceptions. Read guidance on what masks satisfy the requirements of the Health Orders.



As soon as possible, but no later than August 20, 2021, covered businesses will require all patrons age 12 and older to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before entering any indoor portion of a facility, subject only to exceptions found in the Health Order and any applicable requirements of federal, state, or local laws requiring accommodation. Employees will be required to meet these requirements by October 13, 2021.

  • The new requirements apply to certain high-contact indoor sectors such as gyms and fitness establishments, and those that serve food or drink like bars, restaurants, clubs, movie theaters, or any other event spaces with food or drinks.
  • Large indoor events (1,000-4,999 people) require proof of full vaccination. The state already requires proof of full vaccination status for indoor mega-events, defined as 5,000+ people.
  • Health care workers are included and San Francisco is closing certain exemptions in the state health order to require vaccinations for all health care workers at adult day centers, residential care facilities, dentists, home health aides, and pharmacists.
  • This does not include individuals ordering or picking up food or drink to go.



There is newly required signage that businesses must post at public entrances and in employee-facing areas. They combine the signage for indoor masking with the new vaccination requirement, in multiple languages.

Download and print signage:

If you're unable to print your signs, you can pick them up at City Hall at the Goodlett and Grove Street entrances. Contact Paul Lupino at for questions about the signs.


Covered Businesses MAY NOT accept a self-attestation of vaccination as proof.

The following are the ONLY acceptable proof of Full Vaccination:

  1. the CDC vaccination card, which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided, and date last dose administered, or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental jurisdiction;
  2. a photo or copy of a vaccination card as a separate document;
  3. a photo of a vaccination card stored on a phone or electronic device;
  4. documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider; or
  5. a personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California and available by going to or similar documentation issued by another state, local, or foreign governmental jurisdiction, or by an approved private company (view a list of approved companies offering digital vaccine cards).

Vaccines remain the most powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Nonetheless, the Delta variant is infecting a small percentage of the vaccinated in the Bay Area — who still remain strongly protected against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. In those instances of infection in a vaccinated person, a face covering prevents further spread. Bay Area health officials urge all unvaccinated residents 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Click here to learn more and get vaccinated.

For employers and workplaces subject to Cal/OSHA, that agency's COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards will apply.



Reopening Status and Guidance by Business Type:

San Francisco has aligned with the State's Beyond the Blueprint framework to remove all capacity restrictions and distancing requirements from San Francisco businesses.
San Francisco businesses should refer to San Francisco's latest health orders and the California Department of Public Health health order for guidance.

San Francisco’s Safer Return Together offers limited guidance to San Francisco businesses, largely aligned with the CA DPH guidance. Read FAQs regarding the Safer Return Together Health Order.


The following activities will continue to have specific local guidance:

High Contact Sectors (Restaurants, Bars with Food, Gyms, etc.)
Indoor Large Events (1000-4,999 people)
Indoor and Outdoor Mega-Events (over 5,000 people)
High-risk Congregate Living Settings
Schools, Childcare, and Youth Activities

View a table of requirements based on the number of attendees.

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In order to reopen, businesses must:

1. Determine if your business is required to get proof of full vaccination for patrons. You can read the summary above and details at For businesses that are required to check vaccination, follow the proof of vaccination requirements (self-attestations are not allowed for businesses required to confirm vaccination by the current health order).

Note: Even if not required, if you wish to require proof of vaccination from patrons, you want your business to implement proof of vaccination, you can implement a system of verifying that patrons are vaccinated either through self-attestation or vaccine verification described above.

2. Post two required signs, one posted publicly to support COVID-19 prevention practices, and one posted in employee break rooms sharing vaccination information. Click here to find templates for both required signs.

3. Implement a process for screening personnel for COVID-19 symptoms, but this process can be determined by the business and no longer needs to be performed on-site.

Note: Businesses will need to continue to report more than three positive COVID-19 cases to the Department of Health and in the case of COVID exposure, unvaccinated people will continue to be required to self-quarantine.


COVID-19 remains present in San Francisco. The nature of COVID-19 disease spread is dynamic. Public health experts will continue to monitor these indicators in order to consider various policy changes in response to changes to the city’s public health context in order to keep San Franciscans safe.


View COVID-19 Data for San Francisco.



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State Guidance for business and for masking

All current local coronavirus public health orders and directives

Resources for Business Operations

COVID-19 Outreach Toolkit

What to do if someone at the workplace has COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses (non-healthcare) and community organizations - FAQs and Free Services

Free COVID-19 Testing

Free Vaccinations