Oakland City Council on Tuesday approved an emergency ordinance that will require everyone to show proof they are vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering restaurants, bars, and other establishments.
Proof of vaccination will be required beginning Feb. 1.
Under the ordinance, adults must show proof of vaccination along with an ID that matches their vaccine card. Children ages 12 and older must show proof of vaccination but are not required to provide an ID. Unvaccinated people can still enter the locations covered in the ordinance if they provide a doctor-verified note and a recent negative test.
The ordinance applies to restaurants, bars, coffee houses; entertainment venues and museums; gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios; and senior centers and adult care facilities. Those businesses must post signs by Jan. 15 warning people of the upcoming requirement.
The council approved the ordinance in a 8-0 vote after removing public libraries and dental offices from the original legislation written by Councilmember Dan Kalb. Several Councilmembers argued that the city shouldn’t restrict people from medical care or entering public buildings, including libraries which sometimes serve as shelter for the city’s unhoused residents.
Although 84% of Oaklanders are vaccinated, officials are worried about the spread of the delta and omicron variants. Other cities with their own public health departments like Berkeley and San Francisco have implemented similar rules. Major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York also have recently passed vaccine requirements. Kalb introduced the emergency ordinance because Alameda County Health has not done so. The councilmember said the rules put in place elsewhere have helped encourage people to get vaccinated.
“There are benefits here even if it will temporarily cause someone not to go to their favorite bar,” Kalb said.
The city’s code enforcement division will be responsible for responding to complaints about businesses that are not following the new rules.