The City of Los Angeles has started enforcement of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for indoor businesses.
The mandate, also named SafePassLA, requires all people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, including kids 12 and above, to show photo ID and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 when entering indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment facilities, personal care establishments, and some city buildings.
From Monday, inspectors from the Department of Building and Safety, and authorized agents, started enforcing the ordinance.
Business owners who violate the mandate will receive a warning for the first violation, a $1,000 fine for a second violation, and a $2,000 fine for a third violation. Fines are capped at $5,000 for four or more violations.
The mandate comes from an ordinance (pdf) which was adopted by the city in October. The ordinance became effective on Nov. 8.
The mandate allows for medical or religious exemptions.
“A patron must provide the covered location with a verbal self-attestation to qualify for the exemption,” the city said on its website. The patrons should be directed to use an outdoor area. “If an outdoor area is not available, the patron may be permitted to use an indoor area by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before entry and photo identification.”
The mandate doesn’t apply to business employees.
Patrons are required to wear masks when they’re not actively eating or drinking, even they’re fully vaccinated. The city said that’s because the mandate does not modify any health orders issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Some business owners have expressed concerned that the mandate will affect their businesses.
Restaurateurs in New York City told The Epoch Times last month that business went down 40 to 60 percent due to the city’s vaccine mandate. New York City enacted a similar requirement in August and started enforcing the rule on Sept. 13.
Milbet Del Cid, owner of Amalia’s, a Guatemalan restaurant in Los Angeles, told Los Angeles Times that criticism poured in on social media earlier this month when she alerted her clients that she would soon be asking them to show proof of vaccination.
“If you’re obligated to ask,” one customer wrote in response, “then we won’t eat there anymore, so there.”
Beginning Nov. 4, Los Angeles County, where the City of Los Angeles is located, also issued a similar but less expansive mandate, mainly focused on adult-oriented businesses providing alcohol.
The city is also requiring proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours to participate in outdoor events with 5,000 more people. This is stricter than the county mandate, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.