CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Restaurant workers are among more than 500,000 San Diegans who are newly-eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.
Eligibility was expanded Saturday to include San Diego County teachers and those in the emergency services, child care, food handling and agriculture fields. A flier from the county says that includes restaurant workers supporting carry-out and quick serve food operations, from food prep, to carry-out and delivery.
“Exciting — despite the problems along the way — that the process is moving along,” El Cruce 241 Manager Sean Hale said. “Moving forward, and people are continuing to get vaccinated and our turn in line has come.”
With limited supply causing another closure of the Petco Park vaccination site this weekend, county leaders have urged people to be patient as they try to get appointments.
A walk-up clinic in the South Bay aims to help eligible workers in hard-hit areas of San Diego access the vaccine. People in 15 zip codes can get vaccinated at the Border View YMCA with no appointment necessary Sunday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The FDA cleared a third coronavirus vaccine for use in the U.S. Saturday. Nearly 4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine were expected to be shipped Sunday night with deliveries starting on Tuesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom said California is expecting 380,000 doses sometime this week.
The boost in supply could make it easier for San Diegans to get appointments for the vaccine. Restaurant workers in the South Bay told FOX 5 on Sunday that they’re excited it’s their turn.
Hale plans to get the vaccine as soon as possible to help employees and customers feel safe.
“I’m very much concerned about creating a healthy and safe environment for guests,” Hale said. “That is the whole point of what we do here. We want people to come and feel comfortable. That has been the big challenge for our entire industry, is to have people feel comfortable and safe being outside their homes.”
The following employees in the food sector are now eligible to sign up to get a vaccine:
• Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores and other retail that sells food or beverage products and animal/pet food, retail customer support service, information technology support staff, for online orders, pickup/takeout or delivery.
• Workers supporting restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations, including food preparation, carry-out and delivery food employees.
• Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees to include those employed in food ingredient production and processing facilities; aquaculture and seafood harvesting facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing byproducts for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging, including recycling operations and processing.
• Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution and ingredients used in these products including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers, and blockchain managers.
• Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail.
• Workers in cafeterias used to feed workers, particularly worker populations sheltered against COVID-19.
• Workers in animal diagnostic and food testing laboratories.
• Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments.
• Government, private, and non-governmental organizations’ workers essential for food assistance programs (including school lunch programs) and government payments.