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Vaccine Passports: What Your Restaurant Needs to Know

September 10, 2021

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 affecting communities, major cities are now passing laws to limit its spread. NYC became the first state to require proof of at least the first dose of vaccination for indoor areas. San Francisco and other establishments throughout California have taken it further by requiring full vaccination and negative tests in order to enter restaurants and other businesses. 

Many business owners are thinking about how to prepare for similar requirements as they watch to see how they play out in cities that have already begun these mandates. While this shift may not yet have happened in your area, having a plan to prepare your restaurant’s staff, operations, and space for this possible new reality can help your business smoothly and safely incorporate vaccination proof requirements without skipping a beat.

HOW THE RULES ARE CHANGING FOR INDOOR DINING AFTER VACCINATION

San Francisco enacted its law in late August, declaring that only fully-vaccinated guests could dine indoors and restaurants must check for proof of vaccination. Other municipalities have followed. While some restaurants had already voluntarily taken these steps, now everyone in affected areas must comply.

Here are tips from our foodservice industry experts about how to keep your restaurant compliant while also ensuring you don’t lose business in this new legal landscape.

Your staff should know what to accept as proof of vaccination.

KNOW WHAT’S CONSIDERED PROOF OF VACCINATION

Your staff will need to understand what to accept as proof of vaccination. Here are several common options you’ll see:

  • Physical CDC vaccination card: Some people carry their physical document, showing when and where they got vaccinated. You may also accept laminated or photocopied CDC vaccination cards.
  • Vaccination card photo on phones: Expect to see photos of vaccination cards on mobile devices. It’s up to you whether to accept this as valid proof, but many establishments do.
  • Digital vaccine passports: Customers may use a vaccination verification app, like CLEAR that uses biometrics for added safety. Some states, like California, have even designed their own digital records while others use pre-existing companies like MyIRMobile.

Whichever you accept for your restaurant, create a clear policy for your staff and guests to be aware, and stay consistent. Communicate with your staff to recognize the different vaccination proof options they will encounter.

HELP CUSTOMERS FEEL SAFE AT YOUR RESTAURANT

Above all, you want customers to feel comfortable dining at your restaurant. Fortunately, you can continue the steps you took during reopening. Safety measures include:

  • Outdoor options: Offer as much comfortable, open-air dining space as possible for those who prefer it or as a separate dining area for those who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Indoor actions: Continue social distancing and masking servers. This protects both customers and staff, and may be required by law.
  • CDC compliance: Stay informed about CDC recommendations and follow them as best you can. Their guidance gives credence to your safety measures.
  • Update technology: Keep your restaurant’s operational systems up to date to simplify your processes. This limits in-person interactions, when the virus is most likely to spread.
  • Communicate often: Use your website, email, social media, and signage to inform customers about safety measures. They’ll feel more secure if they know what to expect when they arrive.

SOLUTIONS AND SUPPLIES TO KEEP YOUR RESTAURANT HEALTHY IN 2021

We understand that running a restaurant is a tough business, and we’re here to help. Tap into our coronavirus resources for more COVID-19 tips. 

As your local restaurant supply wholesaler for over 65 years, CHEF’STORE delivers the exceptional products your business needs to thrive in these changing times. We have a bulk food store in your area with associates ready to help. Contact us to learn how our variety of business tools and services can support you, your team, and your bottom line.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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