How to have fun in S.F. during COVID without behaving like you're in Florida:
That was until two weeks ago, when I attended Cyberdelia, the DNA Lounge's annual screening of the '90s cult flick "Hackers." I considered it a measured risk. Since the start of the pandemic, both the San Francisco club and owner Jamie Zawinski have been overly cautious about the safety of their clientele.[...] DNA Lounge now has some of the strongest vaccination and mask requirements of any private business in the country -- requiring a physical vaccination card, not an easily manipulated photo.
Little did I know that San Francisco Mayor London Breed had spent the previous night on Sept. 15 having a mask-free, close-quarters good time at the Black Cat in the Tenderloin. Given that her health officer set the city's mask policy, people were understandably pissed to see her not following it. Confronted with her hypocrisy, she took a hard-line stance against the "fun police" and their silly idea that someone who sets policy is subject to it.
That's the kind of reaction we'd expect from the governors of Texas or Florida, not the mayor of San Francisco.
How the hell can we expect people to respect COVID safety protocols when those who set the rules are the ones who refuse to follow them? Mandates may change but mask wearing is going to be with us for a while. We can't expect all businesses, schools or other venues to be like the DNA Lounge, which decided not to wait for city or state guidance to issue its own mask and vaccination requirements. [...]
Unbeknownst to me, San Francisco writer Violet Blue was also at Cyberdelia, and she wrote about the immeasurable comfort and joy of knowing you're safe around people who all had to meet those same requirements you did.
We all deserve that. For someone in a public position of power and influence to skirt those rules means they think they're better than the very people they're meant to serve.
Relatedly, someone complained to SFDPH about our vaccination policies, and a couple days ago they emailed us saying, "The Health Order provides a number of options for patrons to use to show proof of vaccination, but our understanding is that your policy does not include all of them."
Yeah, that's right, because that Health Order says that taking a photo of someone else's vaccination card and scribbling your name and birthday on it in Comic Sans counts as proof of vaccination.
Or, as one of our managers more politely replied to them,
We require a physical vaccination card or a verifiable QR code, in conjunction with a valid government ID in order to enter our venue at this time. [...] We feel that, given the inherent risks involved in the prolonged indoor exposure at night clubs and bars, anything less than our current policy would be the same as just allowing unvaccinated patrons inside.
I am, however, glad that you reached out, because I am particularly concerned about the absolute lack of vaccination verification occurring at other bars in San Francisco at the moment. As I'm sure you're aware if you've been out anywhere, it appears that nobody is even scanning QR codes, let alone actually verifying cards (or photos of cards) against physical IDs. If you have the time to pursue individual business' enforcement policies I would encourage you to look into it. I know we're all invested in limiting the spread of Covid and the vaccination requirement sure is pointless if it's not actually being enforced.
You will be unsurprised to learn that DPH's reply did not address that second paragraph.
Readers, I'd love to know what your experience been with vaccination checks, or lack thereof, at other venues in town. And whether what they're doing made you feel more safe, or less. More likely to return, or less. Reply in the comments!
Here, I'll start:
At the Folsom Street Fair last weekend, here's how it went at the 11th and Harrison gate: I pulled up my CA DPH QR code on my phone and showed it to the person doing the check. They looked at for less than a second, from about 5 feet away, and waved me through. Not only were they too far away to even see what I was showing them on my phone, they didn't ask for ID to see if it was my vaccination in the first place!
I'm told that at other gates, there were effectively two lines: one for people voluntarily going through this security theatre, and another for the people who just barreled through unchallenged.