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Vaccine Mandate for Indoor Venues Signed into Law
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council voted today on requiring businesses to check for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter indoor venues. The ordinance, introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, was signed this afternoon by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The ordinance requires that eligible individuals be vaccinated to enter indoor public spaces including, but not limited to, restaurants, bars, gyms, sports arenas, nail salons, all indoor City facilities, and more.
“Angelenos deserve to see the other side of this pandemic - where we can return to walking around without masks, without restrictions and without fear,” said Council President Martinez. “We cannot continue to place restrictions on people who did their part by getting vaccinated and wearing their masks. The people who have been playing by the rules deserve to go back to normal and this is a necessary step towards returning to normalcy.”
The ordinance was drafted with input from local businesses and trade organizations, as well as City and County departments. The City’s ordinance aligns with the scheduled rollout of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s order requiring patrons to provide proof of vaccination at bars, breweries, wineries, and Outdoor Mega Events (10,000+ persons). The City’s ordinance expands upon the County’s restrictions to include restaurants and a variety of other indoor settings, as well as Outdoor Large Events (5,000 to 9,999 persons).
“Vaccinating more Angelenos is our only way out of this pandemic, and we must do everything in our power to keep pushing those numbers up,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These new rules will encourage more people to get the shot, and make businesses safer for workers and customers — so that we can save more lives, better protect the vulnerable, and make our communities even safer as we fight this pandemic.”
Businesses are not required to check vaccine status for restroom use, food pick-up, or any entrance to a facility that is brief and limited. Those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons, or are under the age of 12, will require proof of a negative COVID test result within the last 72 hours to be compliant within the law.
"Public Health is grateful for the bold actions taken today by the City Council to create more spaces in the City of Los Angeles where residents are protected from this deadly virus,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Until community transmission is low and vaccination coverage is much higher, prevention strategies are essential to our collective well-being and economic recovery. Waiting until spread is high before acting doesn’t reflect the reality of this pandemic and the destructive potential of the virus. Let’s continue to use the tools we have to effectively reduce the risk of transmission and keep each other healthy and safe. And this is what the Council President Martinez and the City Council, Mayor Garcetti, Supervisors Solis and the Board of Supervisors and Public health are doing with these targeted vaccine verification requirements, as they will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges.”
For the week of October 3rd, thus far, LACDPH has reported 2,849 new cases, 52 new deaths, and between 768-862 current hospitalizations. The weekly case rate is 76 new cases per 100,000 residents, indicating that transmission levels are still high. However, the data also reflects that only 1% of those vaccinated have become infected with COVID-19, and of those who have tested positive, only 0.03% of all fully vaccinated people were hospitalized.
“This country has a long history with vaccinations among the overall population. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available for all who are eligible,” said Councilmember O'Farrell, a co-introducer of the motion. “Today's action will broadly protect the health and safety of all Angelenos, and will help Los Angeles finally put the pandemic in the rear view mirror.”
Los Angeles has also begun to administer booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine to people aged 65 or older, residents of long-term care facilities, people aged 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, and people aged 18 to 64 with high institutional or occupational risk (including teachers, day care staff, and grocery workers). According to LADPH, nearly 106,000 booster doses have been administered to date.
Enforcement will begin on November 29th and will be carried out by the LA County Department of Public Health and the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. The business penalties for noncompliance will range from a warning for the first offense to $5000 for a fourth offense.