Enforcement begins today for L.A.’s COVID vaccine rules
Information about Enforcement begins today for L.A.’s COVID vaccine rules
After a multi-week ramp-up, Los Angeles will now enforce its mandate that patrons prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of entering a host of indoor businesses.
The city’s requirement — which applies to indoor restaurants, movie theaters, hair and nail salons, coffee shops, gyms, museums, bowling alleys and performance venues, among other spaces — has been in place for the last three weeks.
But officials opted to temporarily hold off on citing or fining those who ran afoul of the regulations, saying they would start with educational and outreach efforts to make sure businesses understood what the rules were and how to comply.
“The intention of this isn’t to penalize businesses. Our businesses can’t afford another shutdown,” L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez said earlier this month. “It’s to limit the transmission of the virus and save lives.”
Along with the mandate covering indoor business settings, the city is also requiring attendees of outdoor events with 5,000 or more people to show proof of vaccination or that they’ve recently tested negative for the coronavirus.
The city’s program, called SafePassLA, does allow exemptions for religious or medical reasons. But businesses must require such customers to use outdoor facilities or show evidence of a recent negative coronavirus test to come inside if no outdoor area is available.
Customers without proof of vaccination or exemption can still enter briefly to use the restroom or pick up a takeout order.
L.A. is also requiring proof of vaccination to enter indoor city facilities, although unvaccinated people will be provided alternative arrangements that could include online or outdoor services or the option to provide a negative test to enter.
Businesses or venues that flout the rules will face penalties — at first a warning, then an escalating series of fines starting at $1,000 and topping out at $5,000 for a fourth or subsequent violation.
What places are covered?
The city’s rules cover many settings, including:
- Coffee shops
- Tasting rooms at breweries, wineries and distilleries
- Cafeterias, food courts, banquet halls and hotel ballrooms
- Gyms, and dance and fitness studios
- Movie theaters, family entertainment centers, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms and pool halls
- Live performance venues
- Sports arenas and convention centers
- Exhibition halls and museums
- Spas, hair and nail salons, and estheticians and cosmetology services
- Tattoo and piercing parlors
Vaccine verification is also required at indoor city facilities, such as City Hall and senior, recreation and other service centers.
For outdoor events with at least 5,000 people, attendees can show the negative result of a test taken within 72 hours of entry instead of proof of vaccination.
How do I show vaccine proof?
There are a number of documents that comply with the vaccine-verification requirement.
Patrons can flash the familiar white vaccine card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or show a photograph of it. Similar documents from foreign agencies — like the World Health Organization — also will be accepted.
Official digital records are also an option. The state maintains its own portal at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov, and Healthvana, an online medical data resource, has teamed with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to provide digitized records.
More examples of acceptable documents can be viewed here.
Adults also should be prepared to show photo identification along with their proof of vaccination.