San Francisco, CA

All new San Francisco city government employees will have to be vaccinated

Josue Torres

All new municipal workers will be required to get vaccinated before starting their new position, or they will not be employed.

This requirement, which takes effect on Wednesday, builds on earlier reports that San Francisco would compel all 35,000 of its municipal workers to get vaccinated once the vaccines gain final FDA clearance.

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San Francisco City Hall.Photo by Mattia Bericchia.

Unless they can demonstrate a medical or religious exception, all new employees must be vaccinated under the new regulation, regardless of FDA clearance.

A negative coronavirus test will not be accepted as evidence of immunization by any municipal employee.

The news comes as municipal officials consider ways to increase vaccination rates. The stakes are rising, particularly since the delta variation leads to a rise in infections and hospitalizations, mostly among the unvaccinated.

San Francisco is the first city or county in California, and possibly the country to mandate vaccination for all municipal employees.

San Francisco’s school system had indicated it was contemplating making vaccinations mandatory for all workers, but a spokesperson said last week that it had not made immunizations a requirement for kids or staff.

Several towns and counties throughout the nation have contacted Mawuli Tugbenyoh, head of policy for the Department of Human Resources, with inquiries regarding San Francisco’s policy with the hopes of adopting their own.

Meanwhile, municipal officials are looking into the legal and practical issues of expanding the vaccine requirement to compel consumers to produce evidence of immunization at bars, restaurants, and shops, for example.

The office of Mayor London Breed said that it had no imminent intentions to do so, but did not rule out the possibility.

Breed remarked at a press conference last week that there are still a lot of people who need to be vaccinated. And she doesn’t want anybody who did their job and were vaccinated to suffer because of others.

While authorities investigate the possibility, several local companies are already requiring vaccinations.

The San Francisco Bar Alliance, which represents 500 establishments across the city, said on Monday that customers must provide evidence of vaccination before being admitted.

Customers may either demonstrate a recent negative coronavirus test or dine and drink outdoors if outdoor seating is available, the alliance explained.

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