The city of Los Angeles has required proof of vaccination for entrance into a variety of indoor venues, from restaurants to museums since Nov. 4.
This ordinance is one of the strictest to be passed across the country, according to ABC. It has topped those in cities such as New York, by including places of retail and personal care. California is also extending its mask mandate for indoor public spaces for another month, regardless of vaccination status.
Individuals who are unable to be vaccinated, due to medical or religious reasons, may provide a written note for an exemption to the vaccine mandate, but this adds “legal thorns” to the matter, according to the L.A. Times.
In these cases, outdoor facilities are to be used. If they are not available, proof of a negative COVID-19 test must be provided. All businesses that are found to be repeatedly violating this measure could be susceptible to fines of up to $5,000, according to the Daily Breeze.
The legislation passed by way of an 11-2 vote — just short of what is needed for immediate enforcement, according to KTLA. Its opposition came from City Council Members Joe Buscaino and John Lee. Buscaino pushed for amendments to the mandate in an effort to protect small businesses and their employees from any noncompliance or harassment that may result from the new rules.
Lee disapproved of the ordinance for different reasons, believing that it would hurt commerce, fail to incentivize the vaccine, and further divide the nation in terms of COVID-19 regulations. Others, such as members of the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles, argue that the mandate violates the rights of unvaccinated citizens. Councilmember Paul Krekorian disagrees.
“You have rights. You have liberties. But with those rights and liberties come obligations to protect fellow members of your society as well,” Krekorian said, according to the L.A. Times.
Officials such as Mayor Garcetti argue that the mandate could be a large step towards the city’s return to normalcy, by protecting the health of customers, employees, and high-risk groups such as the elderly and immunocompromised. In the next month, the city of Los Angeles will face an important transition in its vaccine regulations, whether it be one of acceptance or rejection.