By Feb. 7, select businesses must have workers boosted, when eligible, and also require full vaccination of patrons at least 5-years-old
A City of Berkeley Health Officer Order issued Wednesday will require employees of certain businesses to stay up to date on vaccination by getting boosters when eligible while also lowering the age of patrons required to have full vaccination to 5 years old.
The requirement to verify vaccination statuses of both employees and patrons focuses on indoor environments where airborne droplets or particles containing the virus spread easily because people:
- remove a face covering, such as to eat or drink in a restaurant, bar, or club
- breathe at more intense levels in a group, such as a gym, yoga studio or dance class
- gather together indoors in groups of 500 or more
The businesses only required to verify employees' "up to date" vaccination have greater risks of exposure to an unvaccinated or immune compromised population, such as a pharmacy, dentist's office, or childcare program.
A person is up to date on vaccination if:
- It's less than five months after the second of their two initial Pfizer (12+) or Moderna (18+) doses OR they have a third dose of any brand at least five months after their second Pfizer or Moderna dose
- It's less than two months after their one Johnson & Johnson (18+) dose OR they have a second dose of any brand at least two months after their initial J&J dose
These highly effective vaccines maintain their power when people stay up to date. Each person vaccinated is less likely to get infected or spread the virus and is also greatly protected against sickness, hospitalization, and death.
"Staying up to date on vaccination lowers each person's risk of infection and severe illness while also increasing our entire community's safety," said City of Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, who issued the order.
These requirements add a critical layer of safety in places of higher risk, which are even more risky given the quickly spreading, highly infectious Omicron Variant. Face coverings are already required indoors in public settings throughout the Bay Area. These local requirements follow state requirements for employees to stay up to date in a variety of environments, including health care, correctional facilities, and adult care.
By Feb. 7, certain businesses required to check full vaccination for those 5 and up
Starting Feb. 7, businesses, non-profits and other organizations engaged in the following activities must require proof of full vaccination and identification before a patron who is at least 5-years-old may enter any indoor area:
- Places serving food or drinks, such as restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, and entertainment venues.
- Places where patrons do cardiovascular, aerobic, strength training, or other exercise involving elevated breathing, including gyms, recreation centers, fitness clubs, and strength training facilities
- Large indoor events of 500 people or more - except where tickets were sold before Jan. 27, 2022
These venues must check all patrons who are at least 5-years-old to show proof of "full vaccination," which is 14 days after the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine or 14 days after the second shot of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Those whose age made them recently eligible for vaccination must be fully vaccinated by Mar. 14 or within 60 days of becoming eligible.
Venues must check vaccine verification with a photo ID. For a minor's ID, venues should try their best to verify vaccination against a photo ID, such as one from a school, or otherwise use a parent or guardian's verbal confirmation.
Large indoor events
From Jan. 27 to Mar. 14, operators of indoor, 500-person or more events that sold tickets before Jan. 27 must require all patrons ages 5-11 to show proof of vaccination or negative PCR in the past two days or negative antigen test results received the previous day.
Starting Mar. 14, these venues must solely require proof of vaccination from all ticket holders, including those purchased before Jan. 27.
See the full Health Order for details and exceptions.
By Feb. 7, sites where employees must be boosted, when eligible
Starting Feb. 7, all employees at Berkeley venues must be "up to date" on vaccination:
- Restaurants and other facilities where food or drink is served indoors
- Gyms, recreation facilities, yoga studios and other fitness establishments
- Indoor events of 500 people or more
- Adult care facilities
- Adult day programs
- Dental offices
- Home health care workers and those employing health care workers
- All public and private childcare facilities
This must include all employees, contractors, and volunteers as well as those custodians, maintenance and other workers who enter those businesses, including after hours.
Those workers who assert a sincerely held religious belief must provide a signed letter under penalty of perjury. Those employees who assert a medical condition must provide a letter signed by a licensed medical provider. In either case, the person would also have to provide negative test results on a weekly basis.
What you can use to verify vaccination status
There are different ways to prove vaccination:
- A Vaccination Card issued by the CDC or a foreign governmental jurisdiction which includes the name of the person vaccinated, the type of vaccine provided, and the date(s) the dose or doses were administered;
- A photo or copy of a Vaccination Card either as a hardcopy or stored on a phone or electronic device;
- Documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider;
- A personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued via myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov or that of another state, local, or foreign government; or
- An authentic digital record that includes a QR code that when scanned by a SMART Health Card reader accurately displays to the reader client name, date of birth, vaccine dates and vaccine type.
Use all tools to fight the pandemic
While these requirements focus on certain businesses due to the risk of spread, these and other tools can voluntarily be taken on by any business or organization. The safer a workplace becomes, the more likely they are to avoid an outbreak and stay open.
Vaccinations remain easy to find throughout the region. Reach out to your healthcare provider or visit myturn.ca.gov, which lists appointments open to everyone - including other providers.
"We continue to move forward through the pandemic by adapting and improving upon the skills we have already learned," said Dr. Hernandez, the City Health Officer. "Easy, safe and effective booster shots continue the incredible power of vaccines to lessen severe illness and death. These additional doses have an even greater importance in environments of greater risk."
- City of Berkeley Health Order Requiring Proof of Vaccination for Employees and Patrons of Certain Businesses
- Employers should encourage, use all tools available to have employees vaccinated
- Digital Vaccine Record (State of California)
- COVID-19 Outreach Library (signage for any venue requiring vaccinations)
- Local and State Restrictions (City of Berkeley)
- MyTurn.CA.GOV (State of California)
- Official Testing Sites: City of Berkeley, State of California
- Vaccination Appointments: City of Berkeley, State of California