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Here's how easy it is to present proof of vaccination in San Francisco

Nov. 16, 2021
4 min read
Golden Gate Bridge
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In July, the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance announced it would require proof of vaccination — or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours — in order to dine indoors. Patrons who chose to dine outdoors were not subject to the new requirement.

Just a month later, the city of San Francisco mandated proof of vaccination for anyone 12 years of age and older to go into restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms and more. Negative COVID-19 test results were no longer sufficient.

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When this news was first announced, I was curious how the city planned to streamline the process of showing proof of vaccination, especially with reports that people were creating fake cards or losing their CDC cards altogether. Plus, with vaccines being distributed at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals, would it be feasible to track all the information digitally?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the process to present proof of vaccination in San Francisco — and elsewhere in California, if necessary — is actually very easy. Here's how.

(Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

For California residents

For both California residents as well as out-of-state visitors, it's sufficient to present your paper CDC vaccination card and your ID to show proof of vaccination. But for California residents, there’s an even simpler way to show proof of vaccination: with a QR code you can get from the state of California through this website.

The website asks for your full name, date of birth and email or phone number. Then you create a four-digit PIN that you’ll enter into the link sent to your phone or email for verification purposes. Once you’ve verified your details with the PIN, you’ll be taken to a page with your QR code and vaccination details.

Note that this QR code could take two to three weeks to come through if there are any issues with your digital record. But you can also upload a photo of your CDC card to modify your record manually.

I personally forgot our CDC cards for our recent staycation in San Francisco and figured we’d have to order takeout and eat in our hotel room for the weekend. But my husband was able to get our QR codes instantly by entering our details into the website.

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Related: Los Angeles expands vaccination requirement for restaurants, bars and other indoor spaces

For out-of-state and international visitors

Though the digital COVID-19 vaccine record through the state isn’t available for residents of other states or international visitors, hope is not lost.

Proof of vaccination and a photo ID are all you need to show to be granted indoor admission to bars, restaurants, clubs, gyms and other indoor spaces and events. San Francisco currently only accepts verification of World Health Organization-approved vaccines from international visitors.

(Photo by ArtistGNDphotography/Getty Images)

Presenting proof of vaccination

It was so easy to present proof of vaccination when eating out in San Francisco.

We visited two restaurants but only one asked for our ID to compare with our QR code details. It was quick and painless, and it felt good to dine indoors at a restaurant again knowing that everyone else there was vaccinated (except for kids not yet old enough to be vaccinated).

Dining with children

Speaking of kids, my toddlers aren’t old enough to get the vaccine yet, though we’re getting closer to their age group now that 5- to 11-year-olds are eligible to receive the vaccine. Because children under 5 are currently ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, no proof of vaccination was required for them and they were allowed to dine indoors with us.

(Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

Bottom line

Presenting proof of vaccination is simple whether you’re a resident of California or you’re an out-of-state or international visitor.

Travelers visiting from within the U.S. must present proof of vaccination through either a QR code from the state of California (California residents only) or your CDC card with proof of vaccination. San Francisco is only accepting verification from WHO-approved vaccines for international visitors.

Overall, the process for presenting proof of vaccination to enter restaurants was easy whether you're a California resident or visiting from out of town.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023