Why 'Fully Vaccinated' May Not Mean The Same Thing In Every Restaurant

Over the last two years, we've all been living according to the ebb and flow of pandemic-related health concerns and safety measures. Masks, social distancing, sanitizing, vaccines, and now booster shots have all become part of our daily lives. Businesses, schools, and other public spaces have to balance the latest recommendations from the CDC, as well as mandates imposed by state and federal governments. This is obviously no easy task, as COVID-19 continues to mutate and new safety procedures become necessary with each variant.

As cases of infection began rising in the U.S., many restaurants required customers to provide contact information for contact tracing, per QSR Automations. More recently, many restaurants started requiring proof of full vaccination for indoor dining (via Los Angeles Times). Emerging awareness of the importance of a third booster shot, however, has made it more difficult for restaurant to determine what "fully vaccinated" really means.

Each restaurant has its own pandemic policies

According to Eater, many restaurants across the country are now requiring not only proof of vaccination, but also proof of a booster shot for service. While these measures may seem excessive to some, most restaurants and other businesses were hit hard by the first wave of the pandemic. Even before the days of COVID-19, restaurants struggled to stay afloat, says Time. Now, to stay open, their owners have little choice but to crack down on health and safety, especially in counties with strict mandates about masking and vaccination. Many have concluded that requiring proof of boosters is currently the best way to go.

The extent to which a restaurant requires vaccination is going to depend on location. For now, most counties still consider "fully vaccinated" to mean the first two shots, though this could soon change in certain places, Eater reports. Currently, certain restaurants in cities such as New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco are asking customers to show record of their booster shot to dine inside. These establishments, of course, may have a hard time enforcing such policies amid opposition to mask-wearing and vaccinations, reports ABC 7 Chicago. If you're going out to eat, the best way to know for sure what you'll have to present to the host stand, if anything, is to contact the restaurant.