LA City Council to consider requiring vaccinations to enter indoor spaces

Proof of at least partial vaccination against COVID-19 would be required to enter public indoor spaces in the city of Los Angeles, including restaurants, bars, gyms, concert venues, movie theaters and even retail stores, under a proposal introduced today by LA City Council President Nury Martinez.

“Enough is enough already,” said Martinez, who co-introduced the motion with Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. “Hospital workers are exhausted, moms who have put aside their careers are tired, and our kids cannot afford the loss of another school year. We have three vaccines that work and are readily available, so what’s it going to take?”

The proposal would apply only to the city of Los Angeles, not broader LA County or Long Beach. Long Beach’s health department didn’t immediately say whether they were considering implementing a similar rule.

No Long Beach officials have publicly spoken out in favor of requiring vaccine passes for indoor spaces, but the city has frequently aligned its rules with LA County and other big cities in the region.

Long Beach health officials have also hinted at the possibility of new rules saying on Monday, “we don’t anticipate additional closures but the possibility of additional restrictions,” when asked if the spreading delta variant would prompt lockdowns like the ones seen over the winter.

Case rates in Long Beach have continued to spike since the delta variant arrived, hitting 26.2 daily infections per 100,000 residents on Monday compared to 1 per 100,000 on June 10, data from the city shows. However, the key metric that would trigger new restrictions, hospitalizations, has risen less swiftly, a city spokesman said. There were 91 coronavirus patients in local hospitals Monday compared to 9 on June 10.

Martinez’s proposal for LA is similar to a policy announced this week in New York City, but it would be more restrictive with the inclusion of retail establishments, potentially limiting access to some basic necessities. The New York policy restricts access only to more entertainment-oriented venues such as indoor restaurants, fitness centers and theaters.

According to O’Farrell’s office, the exact businesses that would fall under the restrictions would be determined during the drafting of the ordinance by city attorneys. No determination has yet been made on whether such retail restrictions would extend to grocery stores.

The motion, if passed by the LA City Council, would instruct the city attorney to prepare an ordinance requiring “eligible individuals” to have received at least one dose of the vaccine before entering indoor spaces in the city.

If the motion is approved, the Chief Legislative Analyst would work with other city departments to create an implementation strategy for the requirement and the city attorney would report to council with a course of action for ensuring compliance.

“Hard-working Angelenos, their customers and the general public deserve to be safe in public spaces,” O’Farrell said. “The vaccines are our most effective form of protection, and the time to act is now.”

Health officials continue to urge vaccinations as the best defense against COVID-19 infections, which are disproportionately affecting the unvaccinated and landing them in hospitals.

City News Service and Long Beach Post Breaking News Editor Jeremiah Dobruck contributed to this report.

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