Strict Los Angeles Indoor Vaccine Mandate Goes Into Effect Monday As Covid Cases Continue To Rise

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Most every indoor public space in Los Angeles — including movie theaters, concert venues, indoor restaurants, gyms, bars, shopping centers, large outdoor events and some city buildings — will technically nrequire proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 starting Monday, though enforcement of the new law won’t begin until Nov. 29.

The city’s SafePassLA ordinance is one of the strictest mandates of its kind in the nation, and includes all individuals eligible for a Covid vaccine.

Accepted forms of proof of vaccination include:

1.) A vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental agency;

2.) A photocopy of a vaccination card or a photograph stored on a phone
or electronic device;

3.) A personal digital Covid vaccination record issued by the State of California or similar documentation issued by another state, local or foreign government jurisdiction, or by a private company; and

4.) Documentation of a Covid vaccination from a healthcare provider.

Then mandate applies to those over 12 years old. People who appear over the age of 18 will also be required to show identification with their proof of vaccination.

On Monday, officials will begin city outreach and education of the new policy, but actual enforcement will not start until Nov. 29. Businesses violating the ordinance will be issued a $1,000 fine for a second violation,
$2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth and subsequent violations.

The mandate arrives as Los Angeles County is seeing its highest daily case counts since early September, and new infections are up 20-40% in the past week.

Today, the number of new cases in Los Angeles County was 1,549. Yesterday, the total was 1,829. That number, however, included nearly 400 test results that were backlogged from a single large testing lab. The county reported a similar backlog Wednesday when it announced 1,605 new cases. Still, the number of new cases last week ranged between about 450 and 1,000, so even subtracting 400 on Wednesday and Thursday, daily cases are up between 20-40%.

People can be exempted from the mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or a “sincerely held religious belief,” according to the ordinance. Those exemptions will have to be reviewed by the location the person is trying to enter.

People who are exempt will be able to use outdoor areas of the location, but if unavailable, they may be allowed to enter the indoor area by providing proof of a negative Covid test that was conduced within 72 hours.

The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which would be stricter than the Los Angeles County requirement, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

Los Angeles County’s rules, which are less expansive than the city’s, went into effect on Thursday, also requiring people patronizing or working in an indoor bar, winery, brewery, nightclub or lounge in the county to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We’ve spent too much time placing restrictions on people who did their part by getting vaccinated and wearing their masks. 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,” Council President Nury Martinez said during the City Council’s process approving the ordinance.

Final approval of the city’s ordinance was given in an 11-2 vote by council members on Oct. 6.

“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,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement after the council’s vote.

Of the mandate, he added, “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.”

Children ages 5-11 became eligible for shots this week. There are about 900,000 kids in that range in Los Angeles County.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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