The Oklahoman

LA to require vaccinatio­n for indoor public spaces

- Christophe­r Weber

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles leaders on Wednesday approved one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates, a sweeping measure that would require the shots for everyone entering bars, restaurant­s, nail salons, gyms or even a Lakers game.

The City Council voted 11-2 in favor of the ordinance that will require proof of full vaccinatio­n by Nov. 4.

The move came after the council postponed a vote last week to deal with concerns ranging from who could be fined for violations to whether employees could end up in fist-fights when they have to serve as vaccine door monitors.

Some critics charge that a mandate would amount to segregatio­n of those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated. Others call it unenforcea­ble.

Business trade groups have said the city mandate will sow confusion because Los Angeles County’s own vaccine rules – which apply both in Los Angeles and in surroundin­g communitie­s – are less sweeping.

However, council members who support the ordinance said it is aimed at reducing the risk of new COVID-19 surges. The nation’s second-most populous city faced a huge rise in infections and hospitaliz­ations last winter and a smaller surge this summer linked to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign the ordinance into law. Garcetti expressed his support for a vaccine measure last week, saying: “I don’t want to bury another city employee, police officer, firefighter.”

The ordinance would require people to be fully vaccinated to enter indoor public spaces including shopping malls, restaurant­s, bars, gyms, sports arenas, museums, spas, nail salons, indoor city facilities and other locations. Current vaccine eligibilit­y includes people age 12 and up.

Negative coronaviru­s tests within 72 hours of entry to those places would be required for people with religious or medical exemptions for vaccinatio­ns.

Council President Nury Martinez has said it is clear that the vaccines work but too many people remain unvaccinat­ed despite widespread availabili­ty and door-to-door campaigns to vaccinate more people.

The ordinance came at a time when COVID-19 cases are plunging while political ambitions in Los Angeles are rising – two council members are running for mayor, as is the city attorney who wrote the proposal.

Councilman and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino voted against the mandate. Last week during a council meeting he challenged the measure as being “clear as mud” regarding enforcemen­t.

“Making a teenager … serve as a bouncer to keep people in or out of a restaurant, and then fining the business for their failure is not the way to go about it,” he said.

Buscaino also noted that the conflict between city’s measure and county’s vaccinatio­n mandate, which only covers patrons and workers at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, lounges and nightclubs.

Of the county’s roughly 10 million residents, 78% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 69% are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.

 ?? Angeles. DAMIAN DOVARGANES/AP ?? A patient shows her COVID-19 vaccinatio­n card at the Clínica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero in Los
Angeles. DAMIAN DOVARGANES/AP A patient shows her COVID-19 vaccinatio­n card at the Clínica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero in Los

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