Angelenos Express Concern Over LA Vaccine Mandate Enforcement for Indoor Businesses

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
November 8, 2021 Updated: November 8, 2021

Angelenos expressed concern over the city of Los Angeles’ new proof of vaccination ordinance, which is one of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the nation.

The ordinance, which began on Nov. 8, requires Angelenos to provide an approved form of vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 test to enter indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments, and some city buildings, though retail stores are largely excluded from the ordinance.

The city’s program, called SafePassLA, requires a vaccine card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a vaccination record issued by the state or by a health care provider; digital or printed photographs of the documents are also accepted as proof of vaccination, according to the SafePassLA webpage.

Alternatively, Angelenos could provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past 72 hours to enter indoor businesses. Accepted proof includes a printed document, email, or text message from a test provider that shows results of a PCR or antigen COVID-19 test. The person’s name and the date of the test must be included on the document.

The city council voted 11–2 to implement the mandate on Oct. 6, with city officials expressing hopes that the mandate would raise vaccination rates in Los Angeles.

Several city council members, however, expressed concern over how proof of vaccination would be enforced for indoor businesses.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, one of the dissenting council members, said during an Oct. 6 meeting that untrained employees would be largely responsible for ensuring and enforcing the mandate.

Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Mike Bonin, and Paul Krekorian also voiced their concerns about enforcement and other details of the ordinance, but ultimately decided that the mandate should be passed and the details worked out later.

“All those concerns being said, we can’t delay a day longer,” Krekorian said. “We need to advance forward with an ordinance that is going to protect people from their fellow citizens who are making a choice not to be vaccinated.”

Los Angeles business owners and employees also expressed confusion over the city’s lack of clarity regarding enforcement, as well as concerns over the harassment of workers trying to ensure proof of vaccination.

Nick Haretakis, a waiter at a local restaurant, told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that he worried that businesses won’t comply with the mandate because it’s too difficult to enforce.

“I think this policy will only be effective if they can properly enforce it, and that seems like a difficult task,” Haretakis said. “It will probably be at its best for fining businesses who disregard this law altogether.”

LA businesses that refuse to require proof of vaccination will receive a warning and notice to correct by the city on the first violation. Then businesses will be issued a $1,000 fine for a second violation, a $2,000 fine for a third violation, and a $5,000 fine for fourth and subsequent violations.

According to SafePassLA, “enforcement” won’t begin until Nov. 29.

SafePassLA “exempts” people who provide the business with a “verbal self-attestation” due to a medical condition or religious beliefs.

If the indoor business has decided a person “has met the exemption requirements,” those with approved exemptions will be offered “reasonable accommodations,” and will be directed to use an outdoor seating area; if they are able to provide a recent negative COVID-19 test, then they may use the indoor seating area.

People over the age of 18 must also show identification with their proof of vaccination.

Alice Sun contributed to this report.