SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Amid concerns about the Delta variant and rising COVID-19 cases, the Bay Area Council called on all private-sector businesses in the region to implement vaccine requirements for in-person employees and customers.

“As leaders that have a stake in the health of our region and economy, it is time for us to stand unified and support requiring vaccination against COVID-19, excluding those with religious or medical exceptions, as a condition of on-site employment or receiving services,” the group said in its recommendation.

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The council, which is backed by more than 300 large employers in the Bay Area, made the sweeping recommendation amid worries about the highly transmissible variant overwhelming hospitals and posing a “serious setback” in fully reopening the economy.

“Vaccines are the only way to put the COVID pandemic behind us,” Bay Area Council president and CEO Jim Wunderman said in a statement.

“The medical science is indisputable that getting everyone vaccinated is our best defense against this deadly virus. Vaccination rates are increasing but there are still too many people that haven’t been inoculated,” Wunderman went on to say.

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The council noted that a number of member companies, including Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Google, United Airlines, Salesforce and Facebook have already implemented workplace vaccination requirements.

Numerous public sector employers, including the cities of San Francisco and San Jose, are requiring their workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing. The state has also issued vaccination requirements for healthcare workers, those who work in congregate settings and state employees, along with K-12 teachers and school employees.

In addition, San Francisco has required proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities such as dining, restaurants and gyms.

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, all Bay Area counties except for Solano are outpacing the state when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination rates.