Tanner Sherlock
Staff Writer

The L.A. County Department of Public Health announced that, starting on Monday, Nov. 8, the City of L.A. would “require proof of full vaccination for entry into the indoor portions of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, wineries, gyms, spas, nail salons, barbershops, movie theaters, shopping malls, and entertainment and recreation venues” for all patrons 12 and older. This also includes public facilities such as senior centers, service centers, and so forth. Those who have medical or religious exemptions are allowed to use an outdoor area, or may show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours previous to using the indoor area. Customers without proof of vaccination can still briefly go inside to use the restroom, order, or pick up something as long as they are masked. The announcement also mentions a virtual training and certificate program for L.A. City businesses that will be released sometime next week.

The following forms of vaccine proof are all valid, according to the Department of Public Health: the CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card, the World Health Organization vaccine card, documentation from a health care provider, a California Immunization Registry vaccination record, a digital vaccination record given by the California Department of Public Health, and digital vaccination records from approved companies like Healthvana, Carbon Health, CommonPass, CLEAR Health Pass, or VaxYes.

The announcement included an update on case numbers: the county saw 1,829 new cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, Nov. 4. It is worth noting that 396 positive tests that saw a delay in being reported were included in that number. 662 people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, and 23 percent are listed as having been in the ICU. The County’s daily average case rate is about 9.8 cases per 100,000 people, which is up from 6.1 cases per 100,000 as of last week. In general, infection rates are lower, having seen a huge spike last December and a much smaller one in late August, though the uptick in cases has indicated an upward trend.

A similar announcement regarding entry into indoor bars, nightclubs, wineries, and other such venues was released on Sept. 17. The requirements listed here were slightly different: for example, a negative COVID-19 test was not allowed as an alternative to a proof of vaccination. However, both announcements have said that outdoor areas are still available. Venues for large outdoor events such as concerts and sports games were already required to check attendees for proof of vaccination, or a negative test result.

Though enforcement of the requirements has not been covered for the newest announcement, it was in the previous one. L.A. County officials said that health inspectors would be visiting venues and checking to see if they are following the requirements. If they are not, they will be documented as having violated the rule, given a compliance date, and charged a $500 fine if they fail to comply by said date.

The County’s new requirements ask both L.A. businesses and residents to take on another level of responsibility regarding the ongoing pandemic; several businesses, both large and small, will be asked to check for proof of vaccination, while residents (and customers) are being asked to get vaccinated, and overall give more attention to the pandemic. Businesses in particular seem to be shouldering extra responsibility  since the requirements are being enforced by health inspectors, but residents should also be aware of the types of documentation they can use to prove that they are vaccinated. COVID-19 numbers may be on a slight uptick, but these new requirements will inevitably lead to higher vaccination rates, which will in turn aid in slowing or eliminating that potential rise in cases. Reactions to the announcement have been mixed, with some lamenting the loss of their choice in getting vaccinated while others continue to stress the importance of the mask mandate. Only time will tell how these new requirements affect the pandemic and the county as a whole.

Featured Image: Courtesy of kcrw.com

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