Contra Costa County has joined San Francisco, Berkeley and other communities across the U.S. with a countywide health order that increases COVID-19 safety in restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses where there is elevated risk of the virus spreading.
The new order, effective Sept. 22, requires patrons of these businesses to show proof they are fully vaccinated to enter indoor areas, or a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous three days.
Contra Costa has endured a severe spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this summer due to the increasing prevalence of the highly infectious delta variant of the virus and unvaccinated residents.
While the peak of the surge seems to have passed, data show the county’s daily case rate remains as high as it was last February. There were 15 COVID-related deaths in Contra Costa from Aug. 25 to 31, and 20 from Sept. 1 to 7, the two highest seven-day totals since March. Unvaccinated residents account for 95.9% of the county’s deaths so far, according to the county health department..
COVID-19 case rates are about five times higher in unvaccinated county residents compared to fully vaccinated residents. Hospitalization rates are 16 times higher, and death rates are 22 times higher.
“This order is necessary now to save lives, protect our overburdened healthcare system, and slow the pandemic enough to keep our schools open,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer. “Reducing community transmission of the virus now is key to preventing future spikes in cases from overwhelming our county’s hospitals during the winter months.”
The new order applies to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities, including yoga and dance studios, where patrons breathe more heavily when they are exercising.
The order also includes a requirement for workers in indoor areas of these businesses to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 by Nov. 1 or test weekly for COVID-19.
For proof of vaccination, patrons must show photo ID and their vaccination record cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or copies or pictures of their cards. Documentation from healthcare providers will also be accepted, as will digital COVID-19 vaccine records issued by the state of California.
Visit myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov for a link to your digital vaccination card, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone.
Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for more information about this health order, or to find a safe, fast and free COVID-19 vaccination site in Contra Costa County.