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Some San Diego Businesses Require Guests To Be Vaccinated

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: Urban MO’s Bar & Grill employees check the vaccine information of two customers before they can enter the building in Hillcrest on August 6, 2021.

San Diego County is not enforcing a vaccine mandate, but some San Diego businesses are now requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Urban MO’s Bar & Grill in Hillcrest has been open for 29 years and they are one of the first businesses in San Diego to enforce a vaccination policy.

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Matthew Ramon is the co-owner of Urban MO’s Bar & Grill and said the staff and community have really supported their decision.

“We were noticing a lot of restaurants on Instagram shutting down, a lot of bars shutting down because they were having COVID outbreaks and there’s a point where we have to start protecting our staff and our guests,” Ramon said.

He said it’s actually helped their business.

“If anything it’s really actually supporting more business for us because people know they can come in and dine in a safe environment,” Ramon said. “We do feel like that extra layer really supports that safety for us and we feel a little more relieved because not only are we working in this environment, but we’re also going home to our loved ones and our families.”

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Ramon summed up their vaccination policy with one word: “Choice. And we all have a choice in this pandemic to do what we feel is right for us and for the business and everybody has the choice to not come into our establishment if they choose not to,” Ramon said. “We’re protecting people. We’re protecting our staff, protecting our families. That’s all we’re doing and it’s a choice.”

Cygnet Theatre also made the choice to enforce a vaccine policy. The theatre is set to have its first performance in a year on September 10th. Their policy follows Broadway’s vaccine requirement and patrons’ requests.

Jill Jones is Cygnet Theatre’s patron services manager. She says all the feedback she has gotten from customers about their vaccine policy has been positive.

“From people who have been coming to the theatre for years they are really excited about it because we’re trying to keep the community as safe as possible,” Jones said. “We’ve had a few people call in to buy tickets specifically because we announced this policy.”

Jones said the policy is a testament to the theatre environment.

“In theatre you really need to be ready for anything, stuff goes wrong, things change on a daily basis. We’re some of the most flexible people on the planet,” Jones noted.

While businesses are setting their own policies, and other large California counties are requiring indoor masks, San Diego County is holding off on a new mask mandate.

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In a written statement, County Communications Director Michael Workman told KPBS:

“We have a very high vaccination rate. Risk of infection or severe illness among the vaccinated population is low. We will continue to monitor and evaluate whether a change in policy is needed. Until then we highly encourage everyone to follow the existing guidance and more importantly, if you haven’t yet, get vaccinated.”

The staff at both Urban MO’s and the Cygnet Theatre are all fully vaccinated. Both venues say it’s because they want their guests to have a good time in a safe environment.

Other San Diego businesses who are enforcing a vaccine policy are Belly Up Tavern and the Soda Bar.


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San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County’s NPR and PBS station.

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Melissa Mae

Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a freelance reporter, I cover a wide variety of stories. One day I may cover the current COVID-19 situation and the next day my story may be about a San Diego landmark. With a background in sports broadcasting, any time I get to cover a sports story is an added bonus! I love covering stories about the place I am lucky enough to call home, San Diego.

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