Los Angeles will expand the nation’s already strictest vaccine mandates as the city add several midsize venues to its list of places that require proof of vaccination to enter.
Beginning Monday, the city will launch SafePassLA, expanding the vaccine mandate to include indoor and outdoor venues that have between 5,000 to 9,999 attendees.
Officials will begin enforcement at the impacted places, such as museums and concert halls and convention centers, beginning November 29 to give required locations time to adjust.
In October, the City of Los Angeles began to require patrons to be fully vaccinated to enter the indoor portions of food establishments, gyms, entertainment and recreational locations, personal care establishments, and certain outdoor events.
The vaccine mandate is expanding as LA fears a fifth wave of Covid as new cases began inching up in October following a sharp decline from August’s peak driven by the Delta variant.
Los Angeles will expand their vaccine mandate requiring patrons to show proof of vaccine to enter most indoor establishments and outdoor events with 5,000 to 9,999 attendees
SafePassLA will start on Monday and be fully enforced on November 29 becoming one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country
The LA City Council voted 11-2 to pass the ordinance last month requiring children 12 and older to be fully vaccinated to enter certain locations.
A negative Covid test, taken within 72 hours of entry to those establishments, would be required for people with religious or medical exemptions for vaccinations. Unvaccinated patrons will be allowed to use outdoor facilities and can enter a business to use a restroom or pick up an order.
Non-residents who are performing artist, professional athletes/sports team, and those accompanying them may be exempted from the mandate.
A first offense will be met with a warning but recurring offenses could produce fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
‘We’ve spent too much time placing restrictions on people who did their part by getting vaccinated and wearing their masks,’ Council President Nury Martinez said during the City Council’s process approving the ordinance.
‘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.’
In LA county of roughly 10 million people, 72 percent of those 12-years-old and up are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.
But the county is seeing its highest daily case counts since early September, and new infections are up 20-40 percentage in the past week.
Covid cases have recently spiked in Los Angeles after a sharp decline from the Delta variant
The number of people hospitalized with Covid has increased in Los Angeles since October
About 72 percent of those 12-years-old and up are fully vaccinated in Los Angeles
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who tested positive for the coronavirus last week while attending the United Nations climate change conference, hopes the mandate will increase the vaccination rate and make businesses safer for employees and customers.
‘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,’ Garcetti said.
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.’
Some business owners, such as yoga studio owner David Gross, are relieved by the mandate which takes the pressure to set Covid restrictions off individual business owners.
Gross sees the mandate as one less decision he and his partner Lydia Stone have to make as they navigate Highland Park Yoga back to in-person classes. But he is worried of the monetary consequences for violating the law which ‘would be hugely detrimental’ to a yoga business that is barely surviving after being shut down for the bulk of the pandemic.
Other business owners, including nail salon manager Lucila Vazquez, are worried the strict vaccine mandate will make them lose customers.
‘This is going to be hard for us,’ Vazquez said. She said many of her customers told her they won’t continue coming to the salon if they have to be vaccinated.
LA, the country’s second-most-populous city, is among a growing number of cities across the U.S., including San Francisco and New York City, requiring people show proof of vaccination to enter various types of businesses and venues.