Los Angeles Approves Vaccination Requirement For Most Indoor Venues, Up To $5K Fines For Violators

LA City Hall
RBL/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor
– LA City Hall

Despite an initial delay because of enforcement concerns, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-2 to approve a new ordinance that requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry to indoor concerts, movie theaters, shopping centers, restaurants and many other enclosed venues. Violators will be fined up to $5,000.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti intends to sign the ordinance, a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. 
Once the ordinance is enacted, businesses must require proof of vaccination starting Nov. 4. The ordinance will expire when Los Angeles lifts its emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the paper.
The new rules do allow customers to submit written religious or medical exemptions, but those customers must use outdoor facilities, such as restaurant patios, or show proof of a recent negative test if no outdoor facilities are available.
Violations can incur penalties on a progressive scale, starting with a warning for the first violation, $1,000 for a second and up to $5,000 for a fourth or subsequent violation. Fines would be enforced beginning Nov. 29.
While Los Angeles County has imposed its own set of rules and restrictions, California cities can expand on existing county requirements.
Most major concert events in Los Angeles — particularly those operated by Live Nation and AEG Presents — already require proof of vaccination, though this ordinance appears to reject a negative test except in the case of vaccine exemptions. However, there could be an impact on smaller venues like clubs, and objections were made on behalf of venues “unable to post a bouncer at every door” to check cards.
Despite a recent drop in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County — which still currently averages 14 deaths per day, according to the Times — and across most parts of California, council members apparently were unmoved by protestations that the rules are overbearing.
“Nothing in this ordinance requires you to go and get vaccinated at all,” Councilman Paul Krekorian was quoted by the Times last week. “You will not be allowed to go to put other people at risk.”
Krekorian added, “You have rights. You have liberties. But with those rights and liberties come obligations to protect fellow members of your society as well.”