Los Angeles City Council Approves Vax Mandate To Enter Indoor Restaurants, Gyms, And Other Businesses

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-2 on Wednesday to pass a new ordinance mandating most adult patrons provide evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the “indoor portion of a covered location” of numerous businesses, including restaurants, bars, personal care establishments, and shopping centers.

According to KFI News, “retail establishments, including grocery stores and pharmacies, are not included in the draft ordinance.”

A spokesperson for Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti said he intends to sign the measure into law.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “Under the new law, businesses must require proof of vaccination when customers enter indoor facilities starting on Nov. 4, including coffee shops, gyms, museums, bowling alleys, spas and a range of other venues.”

According to the outlet, “The L.A. rules allow customers to submit written exemptions for religious or medical reasons, but businesses must require those customers to use outdoor facilities, or to show evidence of a recent negative COVID-19 test if no outdoor facilities are available. Customers who have no proof of vaccination, exemption or negative test can still enter briefly to use the restroom or pick up a takeout order, according to the ordinance.”

The ordinance states: “A Covered Location shall require Proof of Vaccination upon the Patron’s first in-person interaction with staff. A Covered Location is required to cross-check Proof of Vaccination for each Patron who appears to be 18 years of age or older against Photo Identification.”

“We’ve spent too much time placing restrictions on people who did their part by getting vaccinated and wearing their masks,” said L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, a Democrat, in a recent statement. “We need to both limit the transmission of the virus as well as make it inconvenient for those who are unvaccinated to access indoor venues and put lives at jeopardy. The stakes are too high.”

According to City News Service, Democratic Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Mike Bonin and Paul Krekorian “expressed concern about details in the ordinance in the past, including lack of enforcement, but noted that it was imperative that the requirement goes into effect quickly, and that the details can be fixed later.”

Councilman Krekorian said last week, “Nothing in this ordinance requires you to go and get vaccinated at all,” per The Times.

“You have rights. You have liberties,” he said. “But with those rights and liberties come obligations to protect fellow members of your society as well.”

The ordinance includes escalating penalties for businesses that do not comply, starting with a warning, then a $1,000 fine for the second offense, and a $5,000 punishment for a fourth or subsequent violation. The penalties will be enforced by the Department of Public Health and the Department of Building and Safety beginning on November 29, four days after Thanksgiving.

The policy will remain in effect until the Declaration of Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic declared by Garcetti last year is lifted.

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