Los Angeles Now Enforcing Indoor Covid Vaccine Mandate At Movie Theaters, Restaurants, Gyms; Rule Among Nation’s Strictest

Los Angeles today began enforcing an ordinance requiring Angelenos patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings to show proof of full vaccination against Covid-19. Business owners are expected to monitor compliance.

The law went into effect on Nov. 8, but enforcement begins today after a grace period. The Department of Building and Safety can issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance. The citations will include a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a
fourth and subsequent violations. It is unclear how aggressive enforcement officials will be.

Penalties were uncommon during last winter’s more expansive business shutdowns. Two of the more intransigent local businesses met varying fates at the hands of city and county officials. Burbank-area restaurant Tinhorn Flats was forced to shut down after its permits were revoked, its doors padlocked and one of its owners arrested. Popular Agoura Hills-area restaurant Cronies, which remained open throughout the pandemic, received only $9,999 in fines.

The city’s so-called SafePassLA ordinance is one of the strictest mandates of its kind in the nation, requiring people over the age of 12 to show proof of vaccination at several indoor public spaces. Accepted forms of proof of vaccination include:

– A vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental agency

– A photocopy of a vaccination card or a photograph stored on a phone or electronic device

– A personal digital COVID-19 vaccination record issued by the state or similar documentation issued by another state, local or foreign government jurisdiction, or by a private company

– Documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider

People who appear over the age of 18 will also be required to show identification with their proof of vaccination.

People can be exempted from the mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or a “sincerely held religious belief,” according to the ordinance. Those exemptions will have to be reviewed by the location the person is trying to enter.

People who are exempt will 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 that was conduced within 72 hours.

The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which is stricter than the Los Angeles County requirement, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

Los Angeles County’s rules, which are less expansive than the city’s, went into effect Nov. 4, requiring people patronizing or working in an indoor bar, winery, brewery, nightclub or lounge in the county to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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