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LA passes 1 of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in US

Written by on October 6, 2021

(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles will soon require that people show proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter many indoor establishments.

It will be one of the strictest vaccine rules in the country when it goes into effect next month.

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved the ordinance, which will apply to indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping malls, entertainment venues (such as the Staples Center and movie theaters) and personal care establishments (including nail salons, spas and hair salons) starting Nov. 4.

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

The ordinance passed with 11 votes — one vote short of the 12 needed to go into effect immediately.

The ordinance allows for medical and religious exemptions. In lieu of vaccination, patrons must show proof of a negative COVID-29 test taken within 72 hours.

The new law differs from orders previously issued in Los Angeles County. Starting Thursday, the county will require at least one dose or proof of a negative test for customers and staff at “high-risk settings” including indoor bars and nightclubs, with both doses by Nov. 4. The order doesn’t apply to indoor dining, though vaccine verification is recommended.

Some council members voiced concerns about the burden on small businesses to enforce the law. Nury Martinez, the City Council president, said the ordinance will help Los Angeles “finally get back on track to normalcy.”

“Angelenos deserve to see the other side of this pandemic — where we can return to walking around without masks, without restrictions, and without fear,” Martinez said on Twitter last week, ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

In Los Angeles, which is home to some 4 million people, nearly 70% of residents ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to city data.

New York was the first city nationwide to require vaccination for customers and staff at many indoor businesses this summer. For customers ages 12 and up, proof of at least one vaccine dose is required for indoor dining, workouts and entertainment. The city’s mandate, which went into effect mid-September, does not include retail or personal care, and does not offer a testing option.

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