For a little while there, it looked like the COVID-19 pandemic was letting up and coming to an end. Granted, scientists have accepted that there's almost no way this new coronavirus will ever disappear, but at least infection and death rates were falling all across the United States in the first half of the year when vaccines became widely available.
Then came a confluence of factors that brought COVID-19 infections soaring right back up this summer: the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus, a drop-off in new vaccination rates, and the easing of pandemic restrictions in most parts of the nation. For a while, people were allowed to go unmasked in museums, gyms, grocery stores, bars, and just about everywhere else. But new mandates are making a swift comeback at businesses that were most hurt by high COVID-19 numbers: restaurants.
Though neither nationwide federal ordinances nor statewide mandates have been put in place, a handful of cities are taking the rise in infection rates seriously and are starting to introduce new rules for in-person dining—including presenting proof of vaccination.
Earlier this month, New York City became the first major metropolitan area in America to issue a proof of vaccination requirement for indoor dining, according to The New York Times. The rules also extend to gyms, theaters, and other indoor locations, though they require only proof of at least one dose of a vaccine.
In Palm Springs, Calif., you will now be required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to dine indoors, while mask mandates are now back in place for many other establishments, including shopping venues, according to ABC7. And further west, the Los Angeles City Council was actively considering implementing proof-of-vaccine rules as of press time.
In Denver, the mayor issued a requirement that all employees of the city, as well as private-sector employees in high-risk settings like healthcare and food service, get vaccinated, according to WGNTV, while in Chicago the city government is now recommending indoor masking for all people over the age of two.
In Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis, Boulder, New Orleans, and several other large cities, numerous restaurants and bars (and in many cases organizations that support food and beverage service locations) are now checking vaccine status of their own accord, even as official city mandates loom likely, according to Forbes.
Meanwhile, in Florida, the state government has explicitly prohibited places of business from requiring proof of vaccination in return for service. Just a week before the time of this writing, Florida broke its own single-day records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new coronavirus cases recorded.
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