Patronizing or working in an indoor bar, winery, brewery, nightclub or lounge in Los Angeles County requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, under a rule that took effect Thursday.
The regulation recommends, but does not require, vaccine verification for employees and customers of indoor portions of restaurants.
The county mandate was phased in beginning in early October, when workers and patrons at such adult-oriented businesses were required to show proof of at least one dose of COVID vaccine. But starting Thursday, everyone was required to have proof of full vaccination and present a photo ID.
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said when the mandate was announced that the county limited the vaccination requirement to adult-oriented establishments that sell alcohol, since they are already required to verify customers’ age and are considered higher-risk environments for virus transmission. She said adding a vaccine check should not require additional staffing or be unduly difficult for the businesses.
On Thursday, Ferrer noted that health inspectors who visited affected businesses on Oct. 23-24 found 90% compliance with the vaccine verification requirement at bars, and 100% compliance at nightclubs.
Beginning Monday, an even more expansive vaccination-verification ordinance will take effect in the city of Los Angeles. That ordinance will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for entry to indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping centers, entertainment venues and personal care establishments within the city. The ordinance does not include grocery stores or pharmacies.
The city ordinance is believed to be the strictest law of its kind in the country, however, questions still remain on how the city plans to enforce the requirement. City officials have suggested the Department of Building and Safety is the most logical enforcement agency, however, that department lacks the personnel to conduct such enforcement.
Businesses violating the city ordinance would be issued a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth violation. City officials noted when the ordinance was passed last month that actual enforcement of the requirement with the issuing of fines will not begin until Nov. 29.
The city’s ordinance will also require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours to attend an outdoor event with 5,000 or more people. That is stricter than the county mandate, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.
As of Oct. 28, 80% of Los Angeles County residents aged 12 and up have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 72% are fully vaccinated, according to the county Department of Public Health.