With the emergence of the delta variant of the coronavirus driving an uptick in cases across the country, including in California, getting carded is taking on a new meaning in some bars.
From L.A. to San Francisco, a growing list of bars now require patrons to show proof of vaccination to enter. Last week, L.A. Taco reported that at least twelve bars in the city stopped allowing unvaccinated and untested people inside, out of concern about the growing number of coronavirus cases in L.A. County.
“It’s been a shitty 15 months for everyone, especially businesses in hospitality and live venues,” Echo Park’s Bar Henry explained their stance in an Instagram post. “Let’s do what we can together to avoid taking steps backwards.”
Long Beach bars and restaurants, however, remain hesitant to institute any such policy.
“There have been discussions,” said Robert Booth, owner of Steady Brew Beer Co and a member of the Long Beach Bar Association. But so far, the concept hasn’t gained much traction among Booth and his fellow bar owners. Validating it “makes them the bad guy,” Booth said, summing up their sentiment.
After more than a year of restrictions on their businesses, with some just reopening, Booth said limitations on who can frequent them is the last thing bar owners need. “Health and safety is important—but we also want to make money right now,” he said.
As with previous restrictions, the fear of losing business to neighboring Orange County again plays a role. “When people feel like it’s less of a hassle—they’ll just head over to Seal Beach,” Booth said.
Matt Peterson, who owns Legends Sports Bar—located near the county line—said even if bar owners decided to require proof, there would be no way to tell whether patron’s vaccination cards were legit.
“We know to look at drivers licenses, we know how to see whether they’re real or fake,” Peterson said. “But a vaccination card—you can buy one on the internet.”
Booth and Peterson agree that in order for bar owners to implement a policy requiring proof of vaccination, there would have to be an official mandate from city or state health authorities.
“It’s not my business to track the general public’s vaccination status,” Peterson said. “I don’t know anybody who would go out on that twig without a mandate.”
Do you know of any bars in Long Beach that require proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter? Let us know!