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A Central Coast brewery is requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining

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Greater Purpose Brewing Company
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Greater Purpose Brewing Company first along Central Coast to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining

A growing number of restaurants and bars in Los Angeles and the Bay Area are requiring that patrons show proof they are vaccinated against COVID19 in order to dine indoors — but so far, that trend hasn’t caught on in the Central Coast. 

One brewery in Santa Cruz, however, has become the first brewery to enact such a rule.

People are used to showing their I.D. when ordering a beer from a bar, but now at Greater Purpose Brewing Company in Santa Cruz, patrons also have to show proof they are vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to dine inside. 

“If you are vaccinated, we allow you to come inside without masks on," brewery manager MaKendree VanHall said. "If people don’t want to do that, they are allowed to sit on our patio.”

VanHall said with the surge in COVID-19 cases, the brewery decided this would be the safest option for their employees and guests. 

“It was common sense to me," VanHall. "So, to find out that we were the first, and also one of the only still to this day, a week later, checking for vaccine proof for indoor services, blows my mind.”

VanHall said the brewery anticipated losing customers once they enacted the rule, since the vaccine has become heavily politicized.

“That's not what happened, to my surprise," VanHall said. "We actually got an influx of support. But, we were willing to take the hit.”

The worst thing that usually happens, VanHall said, is some people don’t want to or can’t show their proof of vaccination and end up dining on the outside patio instead. But he said others are purposely showing up at the business in protest. 

"We’ve had to throw out four people that were aggressively anti-vax," VanHall said. "They came because of the story that we were the first on the Central Coast to require vaccinations for indoor seating.”

VanHall has heard from other businesses that are debating asking for a proof of vaccination card, but are worried about losing business in an already financially tough year for the restaurant industry. He said for them, it was about choosing what's right — no matter the cost. 

“You have to put your community first," VanHall said. "It doesn’t matter if it benefits you or costs you something. This is not about profit, this is about protecting your customers.”

Greater Purpose Brewing Company is also doing a pop-up vaccination clinic on Saturday from 2 to 5p.m., where everyone who gets a vaccine also gets a free beer.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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