In the past two weeks, I’ve learned of some friends who have come down with COVID after being vaccinated, especially those in the nightlife and service world. One cluster in party center Provincetown resulted in 256 cases (probably many more if you count those who traveled there from out of state), effectively multiplying the case rate in Massachusetts by eight times. San Francisco’s cases went from 13 on July 1 to 163 on July 22, according to the New York Times tracker. I’m hearing from people in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami who have contracted what may very well be the Delta variant of the disease that is ravaging much of the world.
All of these numbers still depend on self-diagnosis of symptoms and access to testing—here’s where to get tested if you feel ill in San Francisco. (We really need to expand these options now.)
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE VACCINES DON’T WORK! Continued infections are expected until we can reach a herd immunity point (which may be a ways off, go USA). The vaccines are preventing mass infections and death, and slowly but surely stamping out the virus. People are recovering and hospitalizations are way down for the vaccinated. If you are unvaccinated, you are only prolonging the misery and cost of COVID, and putting yourself at real risk. Get vaccinated now. Nobody wants to go through that illness moment, or suffer from COVID effects that could last for years.
This is a big traditional festival weekend for the gays—it’s Up Your Alley aka Dore Alley Fair Sunday, a usually sardine-packed event which has been transformed by COVID this year into a more chill “Folsom Street Market” community showcase experience that’s “Mask Mandatory, Pants Optional.” The slew of parties accompanying it have mostly all made announcements that they are offering refunds, requiring vax proof, and/or bringing back masks. And gay bars like Oasis, Aunt Charlie’s, and El Rio are asking that patrons mask up inside as well.
The broader nightlife scene, which miraculously sprang into full-bore action a couple weeks ago, is also laudably adjusting to the rise in cases. Most clubs are returning to proof-of-vaccination requirements and masks when ordering drinks. The 500+ bars that are part of the SF Bar Owners’ Alliance is mulling over requiring vaccination proof to enter its establishments. (Many of those bars have already instituted this.) The point is: be prepared to show your proof and don your mask if you are going out in the near future.
But hey, it’s totally OK to slow down about going out. I had plans to see a half-dozen of my out-of-town friends who are DJing this weekend, but I think I’m going to stay home, pop on a mix, light up a sweet pre-roll, and do some gardening instead. Might order to-go from my favorite spots and help their business. I may grab a drink at an outdoor bar at some point, but will mask up whether it’s required or not. And perhaps even run down to the Folsom Market for a minute to see the cool vendors. But I’ll definitely be thinking things through beforehand.
Since we haven’t received official adjusted guidelines from the city yet, it’s up to us to self-regulate and protect our community. Be compassionate and thoughtful, and party with intention. There will be a thousand other weekends to smile and hug and show off your new sparkly booty shorts. I promise!