LA County to mandate vaccine or negative COVID-19 test for large outdoor events

Los Angeles County will impose new COVID-19 vaccine mandates next month, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test at outdoor mega-events of 10,000 people or more, including sporting events, concerts and even theme parks.

Under a new health order expected to be issued by Friday, the county will also require proof of vaccination for all customers and employees in indoor portions of bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges. The county order will recommend, but not require, vaccine verification for employees and customers in indoor portions of restaurants.

The order will require patrons and employees to have at least one dose of vaccine by Oct. 7 and receive their second by Nov. 4.

It wasn’t immediately whether Long Beach would issue a similar order, but the city is mandating that the Acura Grand Prix, this year Sept. 24-26, require attendees provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. The local event is expected to draw 170,000 people over three days.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the order is a result of a continued need to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, and encourage vaccinations.

“This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges,”   she said.

She said county health officials “believe that targeted vaccine mandates are now a very important strategy for quickly raising vaccination coverage across our county and ending the pandemic.”   T

he requirement for outdoor mega-events—including Dodger, Ram and Charger games and theme parks such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain—will take effect Oct. 7.

The order will require patrons and employees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours.   Attendees at indoor mega-events are already required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

One affected outdoor venue—the Hollywood Bowl—announced Wednesday it will impose a vaccine/testing requirement for audience members beginning Sept. 24.

Ferrer said the county will be working with operators of all affected venues to discuss implementation strategies. She noted that the vaccine-verification mandate at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges should not be onerous for the businesses, since they already must check patrons’ IDs to ensure they are of legal drinking age.

Asked why the order only recommends vaccinations for patrons and employees and indoor restaurants, Ferrer said activities that occur in a bar—such as dancing and singing—tend to present a higher risk of virus transmission than a sit-down restaurant. She said the order is more targeted at “drinking establishments” without restaurant permits.

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