Vaccine mandate: LA to require proof of vaccination for indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues

The Los Angeles City Council has passed a vaccine mandate requiring people to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before entering indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping centers, entertainment venues and personal care establishments. 

The mandate passed in a 11-2 vote Wednesday, with Councilmen Joe Buscaino and John Lee dissenting. Two members were absent from the vote. Because the ordinance did not receive 12 votes, the ordinance will not go into effect until one month after its publication, or at least Nov. 6.

The ordinance was originally expected to take effect Nov. 4.

The ordinance, introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, was signed this afternoon by Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

"We've spent too much time placing restrictions on people who did their part by getting vaccinated and wearing their masks. We need to both limit the transmission of the virus as well as make it inconvenient for those who are unvaccinated to access indoor venues and put lives at jeopardy. The stakes are too high,'' Council President Nury Martinez said previously.

SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 05: Joanne and Ian Gutwinski enjoy dinner at Cassia as the much loved restaurant re-opens its indoor dining and continues outdoor dining on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Santa Monica, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty

Indoor public spaces that fall under the ordinance would be required to display advisory notices of the vaccination requirement. The ordinance would apply to:

  • establishments that serve food or beverages, including restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, breweries, wineries, distilleries banquet halls and hotel ballrooms;
  • gyms and fitness venues, including recreation facilities, fitness studios (including for yoga, pilates, dance, and barre), boxing gyms, fitness boot camps and facilities that hold indoor group fitness classes;
  • entertainment and recreation venues including movie theaters, shopping centers, concert venues, performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, convention centers, exhibition halls, museums, malls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, pool and billiard halls, play areas and game centers; and
  • personal care establishments, including spas, nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons, estheticians, skin care, tattoo shops, piercing shops and massage therapy locations, unless medically required.

Retail establishments such as grocery stores and pharmacies are not included in the ordinance.

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People would be exempt from the mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or a "sincerely held religious belief," which will be reviewed by the location the person is trying to enter. People who are exempt would be able to use outdoor areas of the location, but if unavailable, they may be allowed to enter the indoor area by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

RELATED: LAUSD now requiring all eligible students be vaccinated against COVID-19

The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which would be stricter than the L.A. County requirement taking effect Thursday, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

The ordinance is similar to policies in West Hollywood, New York and San Francisco. West Hollywood's policy to require adult patrons entering many indoor businesses to submit proof of at least partial vaccination goes into effect Thursday, with full vaccination required beginning Nov. 4.

Los Angeles County's vaccination requirement applies only to employees and patrons of indoor portions of bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries. That rule also requires at least partial vaccination beginning Thursday, with full vaccination required by Nov. 4.

City News Service contributed to this report 

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