LA City Council Passes Vaccine Requirement for Indoor Establishments

Beginning next month, customers of indoor establishments such as restaurants, gyms, and salons in Los Angeles must show proof of vaccination before entering. The ordinance requiring indoor establishments to verify vaccination status was passed Wednesday on a 11-2 vote and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. It does not apply to retail establishments such as grocery stores or pharmacies.

Council Members Joe Buscaino and John Lee voted against the law. Buscaino wanted to include several amendments aimed at helping businesses comply with the new rules. In a statement, Lee said the ordinance was “punitive toward businesses, doesn’t provide an incentive to encourage those who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine, and only furthers the patchwork of regulations that exist across the region.” Businesses that violate the rules will face escalating penalties, beginning with a warning for a first offense, then a $1,000 fine, and up to $5,000 for repeated violations.

Exemptions exist for those customers with documented religious or medical reasons for forgoing the vaccine, but the exempt must show proof of a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours before entering. Customers with neither an exemption nor vaccination proof will still be able to enter establishments to use the restroom or pick up take-out orders.

“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,” Garcetti said in a statement.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.