Proof of vax at bars, nightclubs, breweries in Los Angeles County takes effect

Anyone heading to or working at an indoor bar, winery, brewery, nightclub or lounge in Los Angeles County will have to show proof of at least partial vaccination against COVID-19 starting late Thursday evening.

The new rule -- which according to the county health order took effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday evening -- recommends but does not require, vaccine verification for employees and customers of indoor portions of restaurants.

When the health order kicks in, workers and customers will have to show proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine beginning at 11:59 p.m. Proof of a second dose will be required beginning Nov. 4.

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The county order falls well short of the more restrictive regulation adopted Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council. That order, which will take effect Nov. 6 or 7, will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for entry to indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping centers, entertainment venues and personal care establishments in the city of Los Angeles. The city's ordinance, which does not include grocery stores and pharmacies, is believed to be the strictest of its kind in the country.

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Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county opted to limit its vaccination requirement to adult-oriented establishments, which are already required to verify customers' age. She said adding a vaccine check should not require additional staffing or be unduly onerous to the businesses.

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"Helping organizations and businesses comply with targeted vaccination requirements over the next few months is a focus for Public Health," Ferrer said in a statement Wednesday. "We are grateful for our partnerships with businesses and cities to promote safety for workers and residents. We do need to work together to improve vaccination coverage until we reach a vaccination level so high that the virus, or a new variant of the virus, would have trouble gaining traction. The millions of individuals who remain unvaccinated unfortunately represent opportunities for viral transmission and mutation."

As of Sept. 30, 78% of eligible Los Angeles County residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 69% are fully vaccinated.

Of the overall county population of 10.3 million people, including those not yet eligible for the shots, 67% have received at least one dose, and 60% are fully vaccinated.

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