by Andria Borba and Max Darrow

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — In a matter of hours, people who are not fully vaccinated could be denied entry into a variety of businesses in San Francisco as the city’s proof of COVID vaccination mandate goes into effect.

Starting at midnight, individuals must be fully vaccinated and have proof of their vaccination status to eat inside a restaurant, have a drink inside a bar or go inside a gym.

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“The goal is not to punish people. The whole point is education and to make sure that everyone does their part. We’re not requiring for people who are eating outside. If you are eating outside and you don’t want to show your vaccination status – you can do that,” said San Francisco mayor London Breed while promoting vaccines in the Black community Thursday.

Breed and San Francisco Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax announced the plans for the proof of vaccination mandate on Aug. 12.

According to a press release issued by the city, the updated Safer Return Together Health Order requires businesses in certain high-contact indoor sectors — including those that serve food or drink like bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters and entertainment venues, as well as indoor gyms and other fitness establishments — to obtain proof of vaccination from their patrons and employees in order for them to go inside those facilities.

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The vaccination requirement does not apply to individuals ordering or picking up food or drink to go, officials said.

According to the order, those businesses must use their best efforts to ascertain the vaccination status of their employees by that same date. To preserve jobs while giving time for compliance, the proof of vaccination requirement for staff goes into effect October 13 for employees.

There are multiple ways you can prove your vaccine status.

“You can bring your card, you can use the state’s app, you can use the CLEAR app. The CLEAR reader, I believe uses the state’s app and QR code. So it’s just one more opportunity to prove your vaccination,” explained Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

People can also save a photo of your vaccine card on your phone and that will work as proof.

At San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf where fully half of the customers are typically from out of the area — and where vaccine rates lower than San Francisco’s — some restaurants are moving hostess stands outside in an attempt to prevent potential conflict.

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“Further away from the restaurant, so they can engage with people a lot farther outside of the restaurant to try and prevent and educate as many people as they can, if they choose to come in,” said Randall Scott of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District.

At Perbacco in the Financial District, owner Umberto Gibin said they are ready to implement the policy on Friday.

“There’s no way around it — either you’re vaccinated or not. If you’re not vaccinated … you can eat outside. I think it’s the right thing to do. I know it’s an imposition, absolutely. I know we don’t want to be told what to do all the time but this is the right thing to do in order to get out of this mess,” Gibin said.

Gibin sent out an e-mail to those with upcoming reservations and put a notice on their website explaining the new policy. He told KPIX some people didn’t take kindly to it.

“A few of them were not very nice,” he said. “I will never patronize your restaurant ever again and on and on and on.”

To him the policy make sense and should help find the light at the sometimes seemingly endless tunnel.

At Eden Fitness Studio in Pacific Heights, owner Tammy Foxx has spent the past several days ensuring her current clients are fully vaccinated before their next visit.

“Anything we can do to keep from having to be shut down again,” she said. “I’m getting texts, I’m getting e-mails, I’m getting photos of cards — all of it.”

So far, she says, people have been pretty understanding of the policy.

“People have been pretty compliant. I think people understand,” she said. “The clients are so appreciative to be back in the studio. They don’t want us to get shut down either.”

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“I realize some people need to have freedoms; everybody has to have their certain freedoms but when it infringes upon other people, I think we have to start asking questions and do the right thing,” said San Francisco resident Jim Calonico.