Los Angeles leaders were poised Wednesday to pass one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country. This broad measure would require everyone who enters a bar or restaurant, nail salon and gym, as well as any Lakers games, to get the shots.
After postponing a vote last Wednesday to address concerns about who could be punished for violations and whether employees could get into fights when they serve as monitors of vaccine doors, the City Council was set to review the proposal.
Critics claim that mandating vaccination would lead to segregation for those who are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated. Some call it impossible to enforce.
According to business trade groups, the city mandate will cause confusion as Los Angeles County’s vaccine rules, which are applicable in both LA and surrounding communities, are less expansive.
The ordinance is supported by most council members. It’s intended to lower the risk of COVID-19-related surges. The nation’s second largest city saw an increase in hospitalizations and infections last winter, and a smaller spike this summer due to the spread of highly contagious delta variant.
Mayor Eric Garcetti stated his support for vaccines last week. He said: “I don’t want to bury another City employee, police officer or firefighter.”
To be able to enter indoor public areas such as shopping malls and bars, restaurants, bars or gyms, sports arenas and museums, spas, nail salons, indoor cities facilities, etc., the ordinance will require that everyone is fully vaccinated. The current eligibility is for people aged 12 and over.
People with medical or religious exemptions from vaccinations will need to submit to negative coronavirus testing within 72 hours after entry.
Nury Martinez, Council President, stated that while vaccines are proven to work, too many people still remain unvaccinated despite the availability of vaccines and door-to–door campaigns to get more people vaccinated.
The ordinance comes at a time COVID-19 cases have plummeted while political ambitions are rising. Two council members are running to be mayor and the city attorney who drafted the proposal are also running.
Joe Buscaino, a councilman and mayoral candidate, challenged the measure regarding enforcement at a recent City Hall meeting.
He said that making a teenager serve as a bouncer in order to keep people from eating at a restaurant and then fining them for it is not the right way to do it.
Buscaino also pointed out the conflict between the city’s measure, county’s vaccination mandate. This mandate only covers patrons or workers at indoor bars and wineries, breweries and lounges, as well as those who work in nightclubs. As of Thursday, the county will require proof that one dose has been received. By Nov. 4, proof of complete vaccination will be required.
According to public health officials, 78% of the approximately 10 million county residents have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination and 69% have been fully vaccinated.
On Tuesday, the county reported 35 new deaths and 964 cases of COVID-19. Officials from the county’s health department said that 14 deaths per day are reported, even though hospitalizations and deaths have fallen by 50% since August.
Many places in the U.S., including San Francisco, require proof of vaccinations to be allowed to enter certain types of businesses and venues.
New York City began this summer requiring proof that you have been immunized to enter restaurants and bars and certain public spaces such as museums, gyms, indoor sports arenas, concert halls and theaters.
The city prefers initial warnings to violators, and then fines for repeat offenders.