LA City Council passes legislation requiring proof of vaccination for indoor public settings
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed legislation today to instruct the City Attorney to draft an ordinance requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for Angelenos when dining indoors at restaurants or frequenting establishments such as gyms or sporting events. The motion was originally introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell last Wednesday, August 4. The Martinez-O’Farrell motion, seconded by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Nithya Raman, would require eligible individuals to have received at least one dose of the vaccine to enter indoor public spaces, including but not limited to, restaurants, bars, retail establishments, fitness centers, spas, and entertainment centers such as stadiums, concert venues, and movie theaters. “It’s our responsibility to protect the public, that includes protecting them from the unvaccinated,” said Council President Martinez. “The decision to not get vaccinated doesn’t just affect you. We have kids under the age of 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine yet, and someone’s decision to not get vaccinated affects them as well.” According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, L.A. County has seen a near-doubling in the number of people hospitalized each day for COVID-19 in the past two weeks. Just yesterday there were 2,622 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 new deaths. Among the more than 5.1 million fully vaccinated people in L.A., the Department of Public Health has determined that only 0.009% of all fully vaccinated people ended up hospitalized and 0.0008% fully vaccinated passed away. Fully vaccinated people remain at low risk for becoming infected and even lower risk for having a bad outcome if they are infected. “Instead of fighting science, we should be fighting the virus,” said Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. “The data is clear: vaccines are safe and effective. We have endured 18 months of mass illness and death, with the latest variant wreaking havoc across the globe. Free vaccinations are widely available for all who are eligible. This is a necessary and sensible step that will broadly protect the health and safety of Angelenos. It could very well ward off another economic shutdown, which would be devastating to our city and our nation.” According to the Department of Public Health, as of August 9, 71.5% of L.A. County residents 12 and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose. Unvaccinated individuals are at greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, as well as being hospitalized. In addition, they continue to pose a threat to children under 12 years of age who are not qualified to receive a vaccine. The City continues to encourage mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand washing on top of vaccinations to stop the spread of the delta strain. “While there is understandable fear, distrust and concern about taking a new vaccine, we remain in a state of emergency. Vaccination apprehension must not prevent us from defeating COVID-19,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “Vaccines are free, safe, and effective at preventing the most serious COVID-19 symptoms. This motion centers the health and safety of essential workers by ensuring only vaccinated individuals are allowed to gather indoors and asking the unvaccinated to continue to limit their social activity and always mask. This pandemic isn't over and most people have stepped up and gotten vaccinated. We cannot allow the actions of a few to force us all indoors and remain in crisis.” “With the rise of the Delta variant across Los Angeles, it is absolutely critical that those participating in social activities - particularly indoors - be vaccinated,” said Councilmember Raman. “People deserve to feel safe while eating inside at a restaurant, going to the gym, or attending other indoor events.” Next the City Attorney will prepare and present a draft ordinance. An amendment to the motion, authored by Council President Martinez, instructs the City Attorney in working with the Chief Legislative Analyst to incorporate how businesses, Council Offices, and stakeholders can comply with the measure. Martinez’s amendment also instructs the CLA to work with the City Attorney to also solicit feedback from parents, parent groups, teachers, pediatricians on how to best protect our children. The motion also instructs the new Community Investment for Families Department (CIFD) to report back immediately on how to expand the VaxUpLA campaign and what resources would be necessary for a citywide outreach and education program on the COVID-19 vaccines. The CIFD, headed by Abigail Marquez as General Manager, will propose, develop, and implement programs and oversee capital improvement projects to prevent and reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for low-income families and neighborhoods across the City. They are tasked with overseeing the VaxUpLA Campaign, a public outreach and education awareness to ensure equitable distribution of available vaccines and reliable information on COVID-19 to make sure residents are informed and prepared. The city hopes to increase vaccinations among persons of color and make it easier for people of color to get vaccinated in their communities by trusted health care professionals.
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