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LA City Council Approves Sweeping COVID Vaccine Mandate To Enter Restaurants, Shopping Centers, Mayor Garcetti Signs Ordinance

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved a sweeping ordinance that will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, shopping centers and other establishments.

The ordinance was approved by an 11-2 margin. It needed 12 votes to pass with an emergency clause which would have allowed it to take effect immediately. Instead, the earliest it can take effect is in one month, or on Nov. 6.

Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the ordinance to require people to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

This was the second vote on the ordinance. Last week, Councilman Joe Buscaino invoked a city council rule that allowed him to withhold unanimous consent, preventing the council from voting on the ordinance on its first reading. Buscaino and fellow Councilman John Lee dissented on Wednesday.

The ordinance will apply to:

  • Restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, breweries, wineries, distilleries banquet halls and hotel ballrooms.
  • Gyms and fitness venues, including recreation facilities, fitness studios (including for yoga, pilates, dance, and barre), boxing gyms, fitness boot camps and facilities that hold indoor group fitness classes.
  • Entertainment and recreation venues including movie theaters, shopping centers, concert venues, performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, convention centers, exhibition halls, museums, malls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, pool and billiard halls, play areas and game centers.
  • Personal care establishments, including spas, nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons, estheticians, skin care, tattoo shops, piercing shops and massage therapy locations, unless medically required.
a look at Permanent Records Roadhouse where vaccine verification is the only way to gain entry
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 30: Security officer Don McClaren checks for proof of vaccination status from customers before they can enter the bar inside Permanent Records Roadhouse on Friday, July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

People will be exempt from the mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or a "sincerely held religious belief," which will be reviewed by the location the person is trying to enter. People who are exempt would be able to use outdoor areas of the location, but if unavailable, they may be allowed to enter the indoor area by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

The ordinance will also require people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people.

Retail establishments, including grocery stores and pharmacies, are not included in the ordinance.

Enforcement of compliance will likely begin Nov. 29. Businesses that violate the ordinance would be issued a $1,000 fine for its second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth violation.

U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) also criticized the ordinance.

"Hospitalizations and deaths are down 45% from last month, but the city is now putting in place the most radical measures yet," Garcia tweeted.

This will be markedly stricter than the order passed by the L.A. County Public Health Department earlier this month mandating people show proof of vaccination to enter bars, lounges, breweries, wineries and nightclubs. They will have to show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Oct. 7, and proof of full vaccination by Nov. 4. The L.A. County order also calls for either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours to attend outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

The city of L.A. ordinance will be similar to policies in West Hollywood, New York and San Francisco. West Hollywood's policy to require adult patrons entering many indoor businesses to submit proof of at least partial vaccination goes into effect on Thursday, with full vaccination required beginning Nov. 4.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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