Starting Today, You’ll Have to Show Proof of Vaccination to Dine Indoors in LA
Titled SafePassLA, you’ll need to be vaxxed to enter indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, nail salons, and more.
In anticipation of the upcoming winter season, the Los Angeles City Council passed a new vaccine mandate that requires anyone over the age of 12 entering covered indoor spaces such as restaurants, bars, malls, nail salons, gyms, and sporting events to show proof of vaccination. Outdoor events with between 5,000 and 9,999 attendees will also be subject to the new rules. Those with religious or medical exemptions for vaccinations will be required to submit a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours. The ordinance, dubbed SafePassLA, goes into effect on Monday, November 8.
The mandate, which LA City Council voted 11-2 in favor of last month, is one of the strictest in the country, and applies to any individual who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals over the age of 18 will need to present a valid government ID along with one of the following forms of proof of vaccination:
- 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
- A personal digital COVID-19 vaccination record issued by the State of California or similar documentation issued by another state, local or foreign government jurisdiction, or by a private company
- Documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination provided by a healthcare provider
City outreach and education of the new policy is already underway, although enforcement will not begin until November 29. Businesses that are found in violation of the ordinance will be issued a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation, and $5,000 fines for fourth and subsequent violations.
Council members in favor of the ordinance have defended the decision, insisting that it is aimed at reducing the risk of new COVID-19 surges. Los Angeles faced a devastating wave of COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths last winter and case numbers rose again this summer due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Los Angeles isn’t the only populous city that’s adopting such measures. Over the summer, New York City began requiring proof of vaccination for indoor restaurants and bars, plus public spaces like museums, theaters, gyms, and concert halls. San Francisco followed suit shortly after, requiring proof of vaccination for select indoor businesses like restaurants, clubs, bars, and gyms, as well as all large outdoor events.
According to public health officials, of LA County’s more than 10 million residents, 80% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 71% of those eligible are fully vaccinated.