LA City Council to Consider Ending Vaccine Mandate

9March 2022

With the county easing its COVID-19 masking and vaccine-verification rules, the Los Angeles City Council will vote Wednesday on ending the city’s mandate requiring proof of vaccination to enter many indoor establishments and large outdoor events.

The city ordinance, which went into effect Nov. 8, requires people over age 12 to show proof of vaccination before patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings. The law also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people.

The motion, which will be considered at 10:30 a.m., was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez. It essentially calls for rolling back the requirements, although individual businesses would be permitted to voluntarily require proof of vaccination from patrons.

If the motion is passed by the full council, the city attorney will be instructed to prepare a new ordinance and bring it back to the council for a final vote.

Los Angeles County dropped its requirement that people show proof of vaccination to patronize indoor portions of bars, nightclubs and lounges or outdoor mega-events. But people attending indoor mega-events of 1,000 or more people — such as sporting events — are still required to show proof of COVID vaccination or a recent negative test.

Vaccine verification or a negative test is also still required for workers at health care facilities and congregate-care facilities.

The city’s law is enforced by the Department of Building and Safety, which can issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance. The citations include a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth and subsequent violations.

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Los Angeles also enforces a vaccination mandate for its employees, who were required to be inoculated against COVID-19 by Dec. 18. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for mayor, on Friday called for that mandate to be repealed, saying he believes “it should be a matter of personal choice and that we should respect our employees’ civil liberties and allow them to make their own personal medical decisions.”

The mandate for city employees to be vaccinated was approved by the City Council on Aug. 18.

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