LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles leaders on Wednesday approved one of the country’s toughest vaccination mandates – a sweeping move that would require injections for everyone who walks into bars, restaurants, nail salons , gyms or even a Lakers game.
City council voted 11-2 in favor of the order that will require proof of full vaccination by November 4.
The move came after the board postponed a vote last week to address concerns ranging from who could be fined for infractions to whether employees could end up in fights when should serve as vaccine gate monitors.
Some critics claim that a mandate would amount to segregation of those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated. Others call it inapplicable.
Business groups have said the city’s tenure will cause confusion because Los Angeles County’s own vaccine rules – which apply to both Los Angeles and surrounding communities – are less drastic.
However, board members who support the order said it was aimed at reducing the risk of further outbreaks of COVID-19. The second most populous city in the country faced a huge increase in infections and hospitalizations last winter and a smaller increase this summer linked to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign the ordinance. Garcetti expressed his support for a vaccine measure last week, saying, “I don’t want to bury another city worker, policeman, firefighter. “
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, facilities. urban interior and other places. Current vaccine eligibility includes people 12 years of age and older.
Negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours of entering these places would be required for people with religious or medical exemptions for vaccinations.
Council Chairman Nury Martinez said it is clear vaccines work, but too many people are not being vaccinated despite widespread availability and door-to-door campaigns to vaccinate more people.
The order comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are plummeting as political ambitions in Los Angeles rise – two council members are running for mayor, as is the city attorney who drafted the proposal .
City councilor and mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino voted against the mandate. Last week, at a council meeting, he challenged the measure as being “clear as mud” as far as enforcement is concerned.
“Making a teenager… serve as a bouncer to keep people in or out of a restaurant and then fining the business for its failure is not the right way to go about it,” he said. declared.
Buscaino also noted the conflict between the city’s measure and the 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 people, 78% have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 69% are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.
The county reported 35 new deaths and 964 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Health officials said the county reported 14 deaths per day, on average, even though death and hospitalization figures have plunged about 50% since late August.
A growing number of places in the United States, including San Francisco and New York, require people to show proof of vaccination to enter various types of businesses and places.
This summer, New York City began requiring proof of vaccination to dine in restaurants and bars, or to enter certain types of public places, including museums, theaters, gymnasiums, arenas and halls. the concert.
Compliance has been mixed and enforcement deliberately light, with the city favoring early warnings for violators and fines for repeat offenders.
Associated Press writer Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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