Los Angeles’ new vaccine mandate for businesses goes into effect Monday, but the penalty will not be implemented until a later date.
Last month, the LA city council voted 11-2 for an order requiring people 12 and older to receive both shots and show proof of vaccination before entering indoor public and commercial spaces.
To give businesses time to adjust, city officials said they would begin implementing the mandate on November 29. However, a warning of the first offense followed by a subsequent warning can earn a fine of up to $5,000.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said the mandate would make businesses safer for employees and customers.
Yet commercial trade groups are responding with concern as Los Angeles County’s vaccine rules become less strict.
“There is a tremendous lack of clarity,” said Sarah Wiltfong, senior policy manager for the Los Angeles County Business Federation.
Another concern is the city’s response to the new operation. Wiltfong said harassment of workers who are tasked with verifying vaccinations is the top concern of trade federation members.
“This puts employees in a potential situation of conflict when they are not necessarily trained to handle situations like this,” she said.
For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below:
Los Angeles is one of a growing number of cities across the US, including San Francisco and New York City, that require people to show proof of vaccination to enter a variety of businesses and locations. But in the country’s second most populous city, called SafePassLA, the rules apply to a greater variety of businesses and other indoor venues, including museums and convention centers.
Negative coronavirus tests will be required within 72 hours of entry into establishments that have religious or medical exemptions for vaccination. Customers without proof may still use outdoor facilities and enter business for a period of time to use a restroom or take food orders.
They are being implemented as new cases begin to rise after a sharp decline from the August peak driven by the delta version.
This was the time of the year 2020 when the worst of the epidemic was beginning in California, with an average of 500 deaths every day by January. Los Angeles became the epicenter of the state and its hospitals were so packed with patients that ambulances were struggling to breathe with people standing outside, waiting for beds to open.
So many people died that morgues reached capacity and refrigerated trucks were brought in to handle the overflow. That stark scene unfolded as the coronavirus vaccine arrived, and California and Los Angeles went aggressively to vaccinate people.
Of the nearly 10 million people in LA County, 80 percent of eligible residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 71 percent of eligible people have been fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.