Oct 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

L.A. will require proof of COVID vaccination at indoor venues

Man wears a face mask while using a weight machine inside a Planet Fitness gym.
Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

The Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance that will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor venues, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Why it matters: The ordinance would require people to be fully vaccinated to enter indoor public spaces including restaurants, bars, gyms and sports arenas. It is one of the nation’s strictest mandates as vaccination rates have stagnated and cases persist in Los Angeles.

Details: Under the law, businesses must require proof of vaccination for indoor facilities starting Nov. 4, per the Los Angeles Times.

  • The requirements will expire once the emergency declaration for COVID-19 is lifted.
  • Religious and medical exemptions are allowed, but businesses must require those customers to use outdoor facilities or, in the absence of that option, show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Businesses who skirt the law will be penalized with a warning for the first offense and escalating to a $5,000 fine for the third offense.

The other side: Business groups raised concerns that the ordinance would cause confusion and make it harder to operate.

  • The Los Angeles County Business Federation argued that these restrictions would put L.A. businesses at “a competitive disadvantage to other neighboring areas” and raised concerns about businesses having to deal with false accusations, according to the L.A. Times.
  • Councilman John Lee, who was one of two opposing votes, called the measure "arbitrary," according to the Times.

What they're saying: “You have rights. You have liberties. But with those rights and liberties come obligations to protect fellow members of your society as well,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said.

What's next: Mayor Eric Garcetti indicated last week that he plans to sign the ordinance into law.

  • “I don’t want to bury another city employee, police officer, firefighter," Garcetti said, per KTLA.

Go deeper: Los Angeles school district mandates COVID vaccines for students 12 and older

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