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Growing number of Sacramento businesses requiring proof of vaccination

Local business owners say they're going above and beyond public health recommendations and mandates rather than risk another closure.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After being shut down for months during the worst of the pandemic in 2020, a growing number of Sacramento businesses say they don’t want to risk another closure.

They're choosing to go above and beyond the county's newly reinstated indoor mask mandate and requiring guests to provide proof of vaccination. At Luna Cafe's poetry night on Thursday, each guest had to show a copy of their vaccination card at the door. 

“I need to see the proof," Art Luna, owner, said. "I’m not taking anyone’s word for it.”

Luna’s Café reopened just two weeks ago, but the owner made the decision to take the precaution months ago in order to keep his staff and guests healthy and safe.

“I felt that proof of vaccination was the only way to go," Luna said. “I actually made the decision months ago anticipating we’re going to reopen but that it will be sort of iffy.”

And iffy was right. Two weeks after reopening his café, Sacramento County announced an indoor mask mandate to take effect Friday due to a startling increase of COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant.  

Luna is among a growing number of Sacramento business owners going above and beyond what public health officers are recommending. The Russ Room had been requiring proof of vaccination for attendees to experience events without a mask. Now, the business will require all visitors wear a mask.

At Boulder Field, Carlo Traversi said the fitness center never strayed far from masking when the state lifted its mandates on June 15. The club decided to require masks for staff and members through July 1. After July 1, instead of implementing an honor system, they began requiring proof of vaccination for members to enter the facility without a mask.

"We were closed 10 months and, moving forward, the more cautious we can be to avoid any more shutdowns is imperative," Traversi said. "We can only survive as long as we can stay open."

He said he knows not everyone will agree with the policy. 

"I have to do what's best for the health and safety of my employees, members and guests," Traversi said. "Even if people don't agree, we rather stay open than try to please everyone."

In San Francisco, more than 300 bars are requiring proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID test to sit indoors starting. 

"We feel like if we do it en masse, sign of solidarity, show general public vaccines are important and we have a right to protect our staff," Ben Bleiman, founder of the San Francisco Bar Owners Alliance, said.

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