LOS ANGELES—Angelenos patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments, and some city buildings will technically need to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 starting Nov. 8—although 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-19 vaccine. Accepted forms of proof of vaccination include:
- a vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental agency;
- a photocopy of a vaccination card or a photograph stored on a phone or electronic device;
- a personal digital COVID-19 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
- documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination from a health care provider.
People who appear over the age of 18 will also be required to show identification with their proof of vaccination.
On Nov. 8, 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 for a third violation, and $5,000 for fourth and subsequent violations.
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, and if unavailable, they may be allowed to enter the indoor area by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the past 72 hours.
The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which is 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 Nov. 4, 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,” Garcetti said in a statement after the council’s vote.
“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.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Nov. 4 that the county is seeing a slight uptick in COVID-19 transmission, but other pandemic-tracking metrics, including the number of people hospitalized, have plateaued.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 1.6 percent as of Nov. 4, up from 1.2 percent a week earlier.
The county’s vaccination rate remained largely unchanged last week compared to the week before, with 80 percent of eligible residents age 12 and over receiving at least one dose, and 72 percent fully vaccinated. Among all 10.3 million residents, including those not eligible for the shots, 69 percent had received one dose, and 62 percent were fully vaccinated.
Children age 5–11 became eligible for the shots last week, a group that includes about 900,000 kids in Los Angeles County.
For more information on the new city rules, go to EwddLACity.com/index.php/recovery/SafePassLA.