MENDOCINO Co., 11/2/21 — Beginning this week, people looking to dine-in at Mendocino County restaurants, bars and some other businesses should be able to see a posted sign and know whether or not the establishment is requiring vaccinations for staff or patrons due to a public health mandate put into place by the county public health officer. The new order, issued by Dr. Andy Coren on Sept. 21 to go into effect Nov. 1, provides a set of signage required for restaurants and other businesses selling food and drinks indoors, that Coren likened to nutrition guidelines on food products — but those nutrition guidelines are required on product labeling before they make it to the store shelves, whereas this one will rely on businesses to voluntarily comply with the order.
The county’s mandate requires businesses to use green, yellow, and red signs to provide information to potential customers about vaccination policies. The public health signs are intended to correlate to whether staff and on-site patrons are required to be vaccinated or regularly tested (green), or just staff (yellow), or whether the business is not checking or requiring vaccinations (red). The full order can be found on the county’s website, along with examples of the signs. The policy was initially put in place well in advance of the mandate’s start date in order to give businesses time to prepare, decide on a policy, and to allow time for staff to receive vaccinations if required, Coren has stated in media conferences.
A quick survey of some downtown Fort Bragg establishments Monday turned up none of the new signage. Another survey of restaurants and bars on North Main Street in Willits, between Sherwood Road and Highway 20, found many businesses with public safety guidelines for masking and social distancing posted, but only one business with the required county signage, a restaurant that had posted the red sign indicated there were no vaccination policies in place. One bar had posted the full masking order issued in August on the door, and another restaurant had posted masking requirements, next to another sign declaring they would “not discriminate” against customers by vaccination status.
Mendocino County’s average positive case rate for Covid-19 has been declining over the last several weeks after the county’s positive cases and deaths peaked during a Delta-related surge in August, and the number of vaccinated residents has been increasing, while the rate of hospitalizations and deaths have slowly declined. As of Monday, there were 20.19 positive cases in the county on average each day over the previous week, with 10 people hospitalized with Covid-19 and two more in the ICU. The total for post-vaccination Covid-19 infections in the county is 496 out of 54,100 people vaccinated in the county.
On Monday, the county announced the 89th death from Covid-19, a 74-year-old woman from the Ukiah area who was fully vaccinated “with severe comorbidities,” according to the announcement from public health. Nearly one third of the total fatalities in Mendocino County during the pandemic have occurred since the end of July. Covid-19 vaccinations or regular testing are currently required for federal and state workers, health care workers, school staff, Mendocino County EMS, law enforcement, fire, and other emergency workers, amongst other professions.
You can read our earlier article concerning the signage here. Have you seen any of the signs up at Mendocino County businesses? Let us know in the comments!