LA Passes City-Wide Vaccine Mandate

Stokes Wagner
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Today the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for patrons to enter indoor public spaces in the city. The ordinance will require patrons to be vaccinated to enter certain establishments such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms, sports arenas, spas, salons, shopping malls, and others. The ordinance will also apply to large outdoor events.

Beginning October 21, 2021, covered establishments in the City of Los Angeles must prominently display an advisory notice informing patrons that proof of vaccination will be required as of November 4, 2021.

Starting November 4, 2021, the establishments must require patrons who appear to be age 18 years of age or older to provide proof of vaccination upon entering an indoor portion of the establishment and confirmed against photo identification. Patrons who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under any applicable law for a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief may provide a self-attestation that they qualify for such an exemption.

A patron who does not provide proof of vaccination and does not qualify for a medical or religious exemption may only use the outdoor portions of the establishment or enter an indoor portion of the establishment for a limited period of time, such as to use the restroom, order, pick-up, or pay for food/drink “to-go” only if the patron wears a well-fitting mask at all times while in the indoor location.

The ordinance applies to all city facilities and four categories of establishments located in the City of Los Angeles:

Food and beverage establishments

  • Restaurants & bars
  • Hotel ballrooms & banquet halls
  • Coffee shops
  • Fast food & food courts
  • Wineries, breweries, & distilleries

Gym and fitness venues

  • Gyms & recreation facilities
  • Hotel gyms & fitness centers
  • Yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre & dance studios

Entertainment and recreation venues

  • Live performance venues
  • Music & concert venues
  • Convention centers
  • Commercial event & party venues
  • Movie theaters & performing arts theaters
  • Sports arenas
  • Museums & exhibition halls
  • Malls & shopping centers
  • Bowling alleys, arcades, and other recreational game centers

Personal care establishments

  • Spas
  • Nail salons
  • Hair salons & barber shops
  • Massage therapy
  • Skincare & cosmetology services and other personal care establishments

Significantly, the ordinance does not create a private right of action. Enforcement of the ordinance will begin on November 29, 2021. Operators of covered establishments may be issued a citation for failing to comply with the ordinance up to $5,000 for each subsequent violation. However, the city has yet to determine which department will be responsible for enforcement activities. The ordinance will expire when the COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency is lifted.

Covered establishments must also develop and keep a written record describing the protocol for implementing and enforcing the requirements of the ordinance. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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