The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted 11-2 to pass a new ordinance that will require “proof of full vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine to enter recreational locations and events within the City.”
The Council expressed concern over unimpressive vaccination rates around the city. In some areas of Los Angeles, like Hancock Park, 76 percent of eligible citizens have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In other areas, like North Hollywood, vaccination sits around 56 percent.
Under the new ordinance, patrons may prove vaccination status with their physical vaccination card, a photo of their vaccination card, documentation from a healthcare provider, or a digital vaccine record. Individuals who do not prove their vaccination status will be “provided alternative arrangements for access to government services.”
Covered locations under the ordinance include establishments where food or beverages are served such restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotel ballrooms, wineries and breweries; entertainment venues such as theaters, music and concert venues, malls, museums, exhibition halls, adult entertainment venues, and bowling alleys; fitness venues such as gyms, yoga and dance studios, and boot camps; and personal care establishments such as barbershops, nail and hair salons, spas, piercing shops, tanning salons, body art shops, and massage therapy centers.
Businesses who violate the ordinance will receive a warning upon the first violation and increasing fines, up to $5,000, for each subsequent violation. The city of Los Angeles will enforce compliance measures beginning on November 29, 2021.
The ordinance includes exceptions for patrons with “sincerely held religious” views or medical conditions.
Councilmen Joe Buscaino and John Lee voted against the ordinance. Buscaino proposed certain amendments, including one that would make it a crime to harass or interfere with any employee trying to enforce the ordinance, which were rejected, while Lee expressed concerns that the ordinance “is punitive toward businesses, doesn’t provide an incentive to encourage those who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine, and only furthers the patchwork of regulations that exist across the region.”
The ordinance will become effective upon publication due to the need for immediate protection.