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Businesses And Employees React To The First Night Under New Vaccine Mandate

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In the era of COVID, restaurants and cafes once greeted you with signs about masks, social distancing and now in Los Angeles, vaccine cards.

"We have to sort of be the front lines of that and it's a lot of burden to have to put on us and our staff more importantly," said Chris Register, owner of Plants and Animals in Eagle Rock. 

Monday marked the first day that L.A. businesses like restaurants, coffee shops, and salons were required to ask customers to prove they're vaccinated to sit inside. The ordinance says non-vaccinated customers can still dine outside or take orders to go.

Register and his employees are all happily vaccinated but are worried about confrontations with customers upset about the new rules.

"We're not looking to add conflict into our place and if people are going to give you guff about not wanting to show their vaccine cards," said Register. "It's just going to become conflict.

"We'll do it if we have to but it's just going to cause conflict. I know it is."

Some businesses, like Lady Byrd Cafe in Echo Park, opted not to open indoor dining at all to avoid checking customers' proof of vaccination altogether. 

"I would wait to see if they were sitting down and eating and then I would ask them, probably just throw it out real quick and be like 'Oh, just to check if you're eating in here I need to see your vax card,'" said employee Valeria Santos.

The city said enforcement of this rule will begin on Nov. 29. Businesses that violate the rules multiple times could face fines as high as $5,000.

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