LA City Council approves changes to its strict vaccine mandate for many indoor businesses

Enforcement of the mandate, one of the strictest of its kind in the nation, isn't expected to begin until Nov. 29.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just days after being implemented, the city of Los Angeles approved changes to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for certain indoor areas, including restaurants, gyms and entertainment or recreational facilities.

The SafePassLA ordinance, which took effect Monday, initially required all people who are eligible for the vaccine to show proof of immunization, which recently changed to include those over the age of 5. The L.A. City Council on Friday voted in favor of tweaking the age requirement for only individuals who are 12 years and over.

Enforcement of the mandate, one of the strictest of its kind in the nation, isn't expected to begin until Nov. 29.

The council also removed malls and shopping centers from the list of indoor public spaces that require proof of vaccination. They often have multiple points of entry, which makes enforcing the law difficult.

The council also authorized the Department of Building and Safety to issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance, which will include $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 fine for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth and subsequent violations.

Proposed funding for enforcement includes $400,000 for outreach and inspections, $184,207 for salaries and marketing materials and education, and $500,000 for contractual services for the city's VaxUp LA program to provide equitable outreach and awareness about the vaccine.

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The new vaccine mandate for indoor businesses in Los Angeles starts Monday, although full enforcement won't start until Nov. 29.

Under the law, accepted forms of vaccination include:

  • A vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental agency.
  • A photocopy of a vaccination card or a photograph stored on a phone or electronic device.
  • A personal digital COVID-19 vaccination record issued by the State of California or similar documentation issued by another state, local or foreign government jurisdiction, or by a private company.
  • Documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider.
  • People who appear over the age of 18 will also be required to show identification with their proof of vaccination.

People can be exempted from the mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or a "sincerely held religious belief," according to the ordinance. Those exemptions will have to be reviewed by the location the person is trying to enter.

People who are exempt will be able to use outdoor areas of the location, but if unavailable, they may be allowed to enter the indoor area by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was conduced within 72 hours.

The ordinance also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people, which would be stricter than the Los Angeles County requirement, which applies to outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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