This story will be updated as Bethesda Beat learns of more businesses requiring vaccinations.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise due to the spread of the Delta variant, some businesses, institutions and governments in Montgomery County are requiring people to show proof they have been vaccinated.
Mandating proof of immunization is one additional step that county officials have discussed following the re-implementation of the indoor mask mandate in August.
County Executive Marc Elrich has said that regional leaders were discussing a “vaccine passport” that would be in effect between jurisdictions. New York City has implemented a version of a vaccine passport for indoor spaces.
Here are some businesses that have implemented a mandate to show proof of vaccination:
The bar and music venue on Rockville Pike has reopened, after a three-year hiatus caused by a large fire on Valentines Day 2018. On Aug. 15, Dietle’s started requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination.
Bartender Jerry Gustafson told Bethesda Beat that people can either show their vaccination card or a photo of it as long as it matches their ID. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test is also acceptable.
The Dietle’s faithful has fully cooperated with the rules, Gustafson said.
Celebrity restaurateur and Bethesda resident José Andrés announced that all of his restaurants in the greater Washington region will require customers age 12 and up to show proof of vaccination.
That includes Andrés’ Spanish Diner at 7271 Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda.
All employees and guests older than 12 must be fully vaccinated and the restaurant “reserves the right” to ask guests for proof of vaccination, according to Jessica Vince, a spokeswoman for Andrés’ company ThinkFoodGroup. This could include a vaccination card, a photo of the card, a government-provided digital vaccination record or a Health Pass by Clear, a mobile application that confirms a person’s vaccination status.
After multiple readers told Bethesda Beat that they were not asked for proof of vaccination at Spanish Diner, Vince responded: ” … We require all of our employees to be fully vaccinated as well as all guests over 12 who dine indoors. We request guests to adhere to our policy, and though we’ve pivoted our operations focus and will not check every guest upon entry, we do reserve the right to check and verify vaccination status.”
Strathmore in North Bethesda is requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19, or a negative test result, the performance venue announced. The requirement only applies to indoor performances.
Attendees may show a physical or electronic copy of their vaccination card, according to a press release from Strathmore. They may also show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance.
Patrons must also show a photo ID, the press release stated.
Artists at Strathmore have been required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result since May.
Round House Theatre
Round House Theatre in Bethesda announced that it would require audience members attending a live show to show proof that they are fully vaccinated. Attendees must show a photo ID and either a physical or digital copy of their vaccination card, according to the theater’s website.
Round House stated that it is investigating other digital options for providing proof of vaccination.
Round House Theatre is one of 12 theaters in the greater Washington region that have united in requiring proof of vaccination for audience members. None of the others is in Montgomery County.
Bella Bethesda Salon
Bella Bethesda Salon at 4733 Elm St. will require proof of vaccination for customers starting Oct. 1.
Owner Demetrios Bafitis wrote in a message on the salon’s website that customers must provide either their physical vaccination card, a photo of their vaccine card, a government-issued digital record or a health pass by Clear.
Customers may only enter if they received their final dose at least 14 days ago.
Customers will only be required to show proof of vaccination once; the salon will keep a record.
People who can’t get vaccinated for health-related issues and “sincerely held religious beliefs” are exempted from the policy, Bafitis wrote. But they must show documentation of this and have had a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours.
Serpentine Dance Studios
Serpentine Dance Studios at 4930 St. Elmo Ave. in Bethesda is requiring proof of vaccination for anyone who wants to take in-person classes.
Customers may show their physical vaccination card or a photo of it, owner Yasmin Henkesh wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat. Customers must also show a government-issued photo ID.
Customers only need to show their card for the first class; the studio keeps a record.
Serpentine Dance Studios will not accept a negative COVID test result in place of a vaccination card, Henkesh wrote.
Pulse Fitness at 5110 Ridgefield Road in Bethesda is requiring customers to either show their physical vaccination card or a digital copy by phone, according to an email from the business.
A negative COVID test result is not acceptable in its place.
Olney Theatre Center
Olney Theatre Center at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road is offering outdoor performances, which are sometimes shown inside at half-capacity due to inclement weather. Attendees to these shows do not require proof of vaccination, according to the theater’s website.
The theater will require proof of vaccination for attendees 12 and older for performances of “The Thanksgiving Play.” (The theater notes that the production is not appropriate for those 12 and younger.)
“Vaccine policies beyond October and in all Olney Theatre venues will depend on the course of the virus and the advice of public health experts and will be announced at a later date,” according to the theater’s website.
Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana
Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana at 12207 Darnestown Road in Gaithersburg announced on its Facebook page that it is reopening for indoor dining on Saturdays for now. Customers older than 12 must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result within 48 hours, according to the message.
Inferno owner Tony Conte told Bethesda Beat that vaccination cards and photos of them are both acceptable forms of vaccination proof.
Sweetbay Yoga at 5456 Westbard Ave. in Bethesda is requiring anyone taking in-person classes to show they are fully vaccinated. Those signing up for an in-studio class must sign a waiver online certifying that they are fully vaccinated, and that they may take a virtual class if not vaccinated.
Additionally, studio owner Laurel Goeke said she will require those taking in-studio classes to show either their vaccination card or a photo of it. A negative COVID test result alone is not sufficient, she said.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center on Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring will require attendees to either show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the past three days.
The theater’s website states that patrons must show a government-issued photo ID and any of the following forms of vaccination proof:
- Vaccination card
- Physical or digital photo of vaccination card
- Vaccination certificate issued by Maryland, Virginia or D.C.
- Digital vaccination certificate from CLEAR mobile application
- Statement from a health care provider with person’s name, confirming vaccination
Attendees using a negative PCR COVID test result must also produce a government-issued photo ID. Rapid/antigen and antibody test results are not acceptable, according to the website.
BlackRock Center for the Arts
BlackRock Center for the Arts at 12900 Middlebrook Road in Germantown is requiring proof of vaccination for all patrons age 12 and up.
They may either show their physical vaccination card or a digital copy, according to spokeswoman Amanda Bradley. A negative COVID-19 test is not acceptable as a substitute.
The fitness studio Barre3 at 4829 Cordell Ave. in Bethesda is requiring that clients show proof of full vaccination for at least two weeks.
When clients sign up for classes, they receive an email requesting they submit a photocopy of their vaccination card showing the date of their second shot, according to owner Juliana Stein. The studio will record the information in its online database.
If clients forget to submit their proof of vaccination before the visit, they must bring their card or a digital copy with them to the class. Negative test results are not acceptable as a replacement.
Bethesda bar Tommy Joe’s, at 7940 Norfolk Ave., is requiring that customers show proof of vaccination. They may either show a physical copy of their vaccination card or a digital copy.
If you know of additional retail establishments, restaurants, bars or other venues in Montgomery County that require proof of vaccination, submit a tip.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org