City Mandate: Proof of COVID Shots Required to Enter Indoor Spaces in L.A.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has signed a sweeping mandate that will require COVID-vaccine proof at many indoor public spaces in the city of L.A. starting Nov. 4

Under the ordinance passed by the Los Angeles City Council earlier Wednesday, patrons aged 12 and older will have to show proof of full vaccination at indoor areas including restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, convention centers, card rooms, museums, malls, play areas, spas, salons and indoor city facilities.

The city’s ordinance expands on a countywide order that on Thursday will begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, lounges and mega outdoor events.

There are exemptions to the city’s requirements: Those who self-attest to having a medical or religious reason for not getting vaccinated can instead provide a negative coronavirus test taken during the 72 hours before entering an indoor space.

Patrons who aren’t vaccinated and don’t qualify for an exemption can still opt to use outdoor areas of the venues. And they can be allowed to briefly go inside the location to use the restroom, order or pick up an item if they’re masked.

“No one is forcing anyone to get vaccinated,” L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez said last week. “But if you don’t, there are certain things you will not be able to do without showing proof of vaccination.”

The city’s ordinance passed with an 11-2 vote — not unanimously, which means it was approved without the urgency clause. It’s unclear whether that will delay when the vaccine proof requirement rules take effect.

The City Council was initially set to vote on the proposal last week, but it was postponed after mayoral candidate Councilman Joe Buscaino withheld his vote over concerns about enforcement, and that it could sow confusion since it differs from county rules.

Buscaino, along with Councilman John Lee, voted against the law on Wednesday.

Council President Martinez, who introduced the motion, said there are still too many unvaccinated residents and that those who have been vaccinated “deserve to go back to normal.”

So far, 69% of L.A. County residents over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, according to county data.

Business owners said they were concerned about having to turn away customers while still recovering from the economic downturn.

Venues can be issued a citation for not implementing the requirement, and may be fined $1,000 for a second violation, or more for subsequent violations, according to the city’s ordinance.