SAN FERNANDO (CBSLA) - Friday is the first full day of the Los Angeles County vaccine mandate, where customers must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at select businesses, like outdoor venues, bars, wineries and breweries.
While the San Fernando Brewing Company closed before midnight Thursday night, the business is ready to check customers vaccine status before they're allowed inside today.
"I'm feeling a little picked on, actually, is probably the the best way to put it," said Vic Chouchanian, owner of San Fernando Brewing Company.
As a brewery that does not serve food, his business falls under the county's new vaccine mandate, and while Chouchanian said he's pro-vaccine, he worries the new rules will hurt business.
"As we see our companions in the restaurant industry and other industries being able to kind of open and keep serving their patrons without any worry, we feel as though we follow the same rules and have the same risks, and scientifically speaking there is no data to show we're any more dangerous than a restaurant or anywhere else. We just feel as though we're the black sheep of the community," Chouchanian said.
With just under 80% of eligible LA County residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine, Chouchanian worries he will see a 20% drop in business because of the mandate.
"You can heart it in their voices, especially when they call and ask about the mandate and we tell them we are checking, and they say, 'Oh, okay. Thank you,' and you can tell they won't come," he said.
According to the county's order, customers here who are not vaccinated or do not have proof of a negative COVID test can still sit outdoors. They may go indoors just to order or to use the restroom.
San Fernando Brewing Company customer Marco Torres said he supports the mandate.
"I always learned as a kid that I shouldn't let my liberty affect other people's freedom. The we is more important than the me," he said, adding that he also feels safer going out now that the new rules are in place.
"I have access to a lot of people in my family, little kids and older people, and I want to make sure that I can hug them and kiss them. And if people come around me, I want to make sure they've done their part," Torres said.
Chouchanian, who said he's been targeted by anti-maskers before, is no worried he will have to deal with anti-vaxxers as well. He said he has had to hire more staff to enforce the mandate.
Restaurants, shopping malls and salons will also have vaccine requirements for customers under the City of LA's mandate, which goes into effect in November.
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