“No one is going to force you to get the vaccine, but if you decide not to get it, there are some things you won’t be able to do,” Los Angeles City Council Chairman Nury Martinez said of ‘a vote taken today that will require people to show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination before entering indoor entertainment venues.
The amendment to the city ordinance was adopted today with 11 “yes” and two “no”. Councilors Joe Buscaino and John Lee were the dissenters. Two other members were absent for the vote.
Ordinances must be approved unanimously on first reading. Supervisor Buscaino invoked the council’s rule 39 on first reading last week, which allowed him to deny the unanimous consent required to pass the order. This meant that potential approval would be postponed until this week.
Because of the ordinance’s “emergency clause”, it took 12 yes votes in its second review to be rushed through today, not the normal eight votes. Only the threshold of eight votes having been reached, the measure, which was to apply on November 4, takes effect within the normal period, either one month from the publication, or on November 6.
Thus, residents of Los Angeles will be required to show full proof of vaccination against Covid-19 before entering indoor cinemas, concert halls and sporting events, restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, shopping malls. and personal care facilities.
“It’s no longer negotiable,” Martinez said, “the stakes are too high.”
People with medical or religious exemptions will need to provide a recent negative Covid test.
Indoor public spaces that fall under the ordinance would be required to display warning notices regarding the vaccination requirement.
The ordinance applies to:
-Entertainment and leisure venues, including cinemas, shopping malls, concert halls, performance halls, adult entertainment venues, commercial events and party venues, sports arenas, entertainment centers congresses, exhibition halls, museums, shopping malls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, pool and billiard halls, play areas and play centers
-Establishments that serve food or drink, including restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, cafes, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, breweries, wineries, halls distillery banquet and hotel ballrooms
– Gyms and fitness rooms including leisure facilities, fitness studios (including for yoga, pilates, dance and barre), boxing halls, camps fitness training and facilities that organize indoor group fitness classes
-Personal care establishments including spas, nail salons, barber shops, barber shops, tanning salons, beauticians, skin care, tattoo parlors, piercing shops and massage therapy centers, unless medically necessary
Police stations are apparently also included in the order, according to testimony last week. It would also likely impact the availability of the NBA, NFL, and other professional sports stars who refuse vaccination.
It is not known where the theme parks are in regards to the city ordinance, but last Tuesday LA County announced that the Covid vaccination / testing requirement for visitors to major sites such as Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood will largely remain, but the county no longer requires proof of a negative Covid test for customers aged 11 and under – an age group that remains ineligible for vaccinations.
The county has also removed the requirement that customers aged 17 and under provide photo ID along with their vaccination / test verification. The county has also agreed to postpone the photo ID requirement for those aged 18 and over until November 1, which is the city’s date. People will still need to provide vaccination / test verification from October 7th.
County theme parks had expressed concerns about this requirement, saying they had limited staff to verify the required documentation – both a vaccine / test check and photo ID – this which could result in long queues for admission to parks. They also argued that customers who purchased tickets in advance before the requirements were announced should be granted a grace period. The same is certainly true for cinemas, concert halls and sporting events.
County jurisdictions can pass and promulgate more stringent guidelines, but it remains to be seen whether the city will comply with the county’s recent theme park amendments, or be more stringent.
The Los Angeles Department of Building and Security will likely be responsible for enforcing the warrant. An official in that department told board members last week that Building and Safety does not have the staff to run such an application. He said employees should quit their normal enforcement duties or, potentially, county health department inspectors could report violations.
Any citation would be given to the institution. Execution would be the duty of the manager or employee.
Council member Mike Bonin had expressed concerns about the “selective application” of the mandate, but said he would not delay his “yes” vote.
The building and security official said the fines would break down as follows:
1st offense: a notice to be corrected
2nd offense: $ 1,000
3rd offense: $ 2,000
Subsequent offenses: $ 5,000
Those who present fake vaccination cards, officials say, are subject to strict federal laws regulating the falsification of identity documents. The business owner would not be fined, especially for failing to properly screen fake cards.
Those who do not have an exemption or vaccination may be allowed to use the exterior areas of the site and the interior part “for short and limited periods to use the toilet, order, pick up or pay for food or drink. drinks to take away. “
The order would also require people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which would be more stringent than the LA County requirement. This ordinance only applies to outdoor events with 10,000 people or more.
“Covid-19 could be eradicated if we had mass vaccinations across the country and across the world,” O’Farrell said before noting the US history of smallpox eradication and mainly of polio eradication through vaccination.
“Why the hell is it okay in 2021 for more than 30 people to die in Los Angeles County from Covid over a three-day period, including an 11-year-old girl, when we have a vaccine that could have prevented all of this , accessible to everyone, ”O’Farrell said ahead of the Aug. 11 vote.
“This is not a vaccination mandate … we are not going to deny anyone the possibility of accessing basic necessities, food, medicine, etc., regardless of vaccination … but what is immoral, it is to choose not to be vaccinated, to choose to listen to delusions rant on Twitter, ”he added.
The ordinance would be similar to the policies of West Hollywood, New York and San Francisco. West Hollywood’s policy requiring adult customers entering many domestic businesses to submit proof of at least partial vaccination is effective October 7, with full vaccination required from November 4.
Several people called the Los Angeles city council meeting on August 11 to oppose the potential ordinance, with some saying the vaccines themselves are dangerous, and others saying it was a form of “segregation” and comparing it to the tactics used by the Nazis during the war. 1930s and 40s.
Councilor Bob Blumenfield, who said he was offended by this latest comparison, replied: “When you ask someone for their papers in order to send them to a death camp, it’s exactly the opposite. to ask for proof of vaccination so that we can save lives, it is the opposite.
An appellant today called the order “disgusting” and “a declaration of war on the people and the business”.
The president of the Los Angeles branch of the Libertarian Party called to urge “mass disrespect” saying, “We can overwhelm the city quickly.”
Martinez said ahead of the Aug. 11 vote: “I want to be very clear on something, and I’ve heard this on social media and from people calling that they have the right not to access the vaccine or to not get vaccinated. Unfortunately, this argument just doesn’t work for me. Not being vaccinated impacts everyone else’s health. So this argument that you have the right not to access the vaccine or to be vaccinated just doesn’t work anymore. “
As Los Angeles County continues to see the number of hospitalizations related to Covid and other parameters drop, the rate of vaccination of residents remains relatively stagnant, and the county’s public health director warned last Tuesday that the pandemic will only end if this pace accelerates.
“Time is not on our side,” Barbara Ferrer told the supervisory board. “We’ve been here before. In early fall 2020, community transmission was low, until then it was not. Last winter was brutal. And given the unpredictability of the virus and its variants, we need to step up the pace of vaccinations because it is the most effective tool we have to prevent another deadly wave. “
As of September 23, 77% of eligible county residents aged 12 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 69% were fully immunized. In LA County, however, about 15% of residents are under the age of 12, so when these Angelenos are included, the percentages of those partially or fully vaccinated drop even more.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated people can still contract Covid and pass it on to others, although they are much less likely to develop symptoms, require hospitalization, or die from the disease. virus.
There is some evidence that fully vaccinated people are likely to spread the more contagious Delta variant of the virus for less time than unvaccinated people, according to the CDC.
City News Service contributed to this report.