Los Angeles moves one step closer to requiring proof of vaccination at restaurants, gyms, bars

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed legislation Wednesday instructing City Attorney Mike Feuer to draft an ordinance requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for Angelenos when dining indoors at restaurants or visiting other indoor settings like gyms or sporting events. 

The motion was originally introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell last Wednesday, August 4.

Steps needed before it becomes law:

  • The motion goes to the city attorney and he will begin drafting the ordinance.
  • The city attorney will work on the language of the ordinance.
  • Once the city attorney has drafted the ordinance it goes back to the city council for another vote.

RELATED: Los Angeles considers requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants, gyms, indoor sporting events

The motion would require eligible individuals to have received at least one dose of the vaccine to enter indoor public spaces, including restaurants, bars, retail establishments, fitness centers, spas, and entertainment centers such as stadiums, concert venues, and movie theaters.

"Why on Earth is it OK in 2021 to have 30 plus people die in the county of Los Angeles from COVID over a three-day period, including an 11-year-old girl, when we have a vaccine that could have prevented all of that, accessible to everyone," O'Farrell said.

"This is not a vaccine mandate ... we're not going to deny anyone the ability to access essentials, food, medicine, etc., regardless of vaccination ... but what is immoral is choosing not to get vaccinated, choosing to listen to some delusional rant on Twitter," he added.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County has seen a near-doubling in the number of people hospitalized each day for COVID-19 in the past two weeks. Just Tuesday there were 2,622 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 new deaths. Among the more than 5.1 million fully vaccinated people in Los Angeles, the Department of Public Health has determined that only 0.009% of all fully vaccinated people ended up hospitalized and 0.0008% fully vaccinated passed away. Fully vaccinated people remain at low risk for becoming infected and even lower risk for having a bad outcome if they are infected.

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Several people called into the City Council meeting to oppose the potential ordinance, some claiming that the vaccines are deadly themselves, and others saying it was a form of "segregation" and comparing it to the Holocaust.

"I want to be very clear about something, and I've heard this on social media and people who call in that they have a right to not access the vaccine or not get vaccinated. Unfortunately, that argument just doesn't work for me,'' Martinez said before the vote Wednesday. "You not being vaccinated actually impacts the health of everyone else. So that argument that you have the right to not access the vaccine or get vaccinated just doesn't work anymore."

Councilman Paul Koretz similarly said, "Frankly I'm tired of our politicization of science and public health. And while people outside this building are protesting that this is a violation of their civil liberties, Angelenos are dying unnecessarily."

The city attorney will be working with the city's chief legislative analyst to incorporate in the ordinance how businesses, council offices, and stakeholders can comply with the measure. The amendment also instructs the CLA to work with the city attorney to solicit feedback from parents, parent groups, teachers, pediatricians on how to best protect kids.

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CNS contributed to this report.