LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to consider requiring proof of vaccination against the coronavirus to enter some indoor public spaces.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, who recommended the review, says she wants to gather advice from public health and other experts over the next two weeks, but stresses, "This motion before us doesn't do anything today."
"I think it's time for LA County to at least explore the possibility of requiring people to show proof of vaccination before they enter public spaces in LA County," Hahn told FOX 11.
"By explore, I mean we're going to ask for our county lawyers, our county health people and the county officials who work with businesses to give us a report back in 14 days and advise the County Board of Supervisors on what our options are if we believe that's the next step in protecting the public's health," Hahn adds.
She said the possibility of requiring vaccination proof needs to be considered to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases "being driven by and large by the unvaccinated."
WHICH BUSINESSES WILL NEED TO ASK FOR PROOF OF VACCINE?
Hahn said they might focus on nonessential businesses.
"Maybe we just do nonessential businesses and we make sure everyone can access their grocery stores," she said.
Sierra Fitness, a community gym specializing in private training in Sierra Madre, already requires proof of vaccination to enter the gym. The owner, Sandy Duvall, implemented the policy.
"Instead of going backward with this, I think I was the first one to put up a sign and say vaccinated members welcome because I think that's the only way we're going to move forward in this and I'm so excited that a lot of the corporations and businesses are doing this now," said Duvall.
Duvall said she has received pushback but has also received a lot of positive feedback. She said she wants to best protect her clients.
"My duty is to protect our community, to protect our clientele, my employees, my staff. I really feel that for our country and for our community to move on here, it's the only solution," she said.
The facility includes a newer built outdoor gym with several machines and equipment and has also offered discounts for vaccinated clients.
"We have a very high percentage of vaccinated people that come here, but we did have to turn people away who have been coming who are not vaccinated at this point. I'm hoping they will and I'm hoping we can get past this so we aren't as divided," she said.
Duvall said she is not a fan of the government mandating vaccine requirements though she has implemented a policy on her own.
"I believe in science. This is not political for me whatsoever. I'm not excited about the government coming in and doing this but I think it needs to be done now because our rates are so high in the hospitals and so many people are dying right in front of us," said Duvall.
On a city level, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O'Farrell introduced a motion that would require Angelenos to show proof that they have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter restaurants, bars, retail stores, fitness centers, spas, movie theaters and entertainment venues.
If the proposal is approved, it would still need to be approved by the LA City council and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Other issues being looked at, not only by Los Angeles County staff, but other municipalities (like the City of Los Angeles) include the following:
- Essential vs nonessential businesses – For example, should supermarkets be included, or just nonessential businesses like retail stores and movie theaters.
- How to confirm vaccination status. Without a centralized database for vaccination records, businesses would have to depend on paper copies. There is already a thriving black market for fake covid vaccine cards out there. Furthermore, how do you confirm an exemption, like a religious or medical excuse?
- How to avoid hurting the smaller businesses that are barely recuperating from the pandemic closures, with undue paperwork or negative reaction from the public.