LA City Council Takes a Step Toward Ending Vaccine Mandate

If the motion is passed by the full council, the city attorney will be instructed to prepare a new ordinance and bring it back to the council for a final vote.

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With the county easing its COVID-19 masking and vaccine-verification rules, the Los Angeles City Council took another step Wednesday toward ending the city's mandate requiring proof of vaccination to enter many indoor establishments and large outdoor events.

The council voted 12-0 to have the city attorney write a new ordinance making proof of vaccination voluntary for businesses. Approval will require another vote, and it was not immediately clear when the revised rules will go into effect.

The city ordinance, which went into effect Nov. 8, requires people over age 12 to show proof of vaccination before patronizing indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings. The law also requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend outdoor events with 5,000 or more people.

The motion was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez. It essentially calls for rolling back the requirements, although individual businesses would be permitted to voluntarily require proof of vaccination from patrons.

Los Angeles County dropped its requirement that people show proof of vaccination to patronize indoor portions of bars, nightclubs and lounges or outdoor mega-events. But people attending indoor mega-events of 1,000 or more people -- such as sporting events -- are still required to show proof of COVID vaccination or a recent negative test.

Vaccine verification or a negative test is also still required for workers at health care facilities and congregate-care facilities.

The city's law is enforced by the Department of Building and Safety, which can issue administrative citations to businesses that violate the ordinance. The citations include a $1,000 fine for a second violation, $2,000 for a third violation and a $5,000 fine for a fourth and subsequent violations.

Los Angeles also enforces a vaccination mandate for its employees, who were required to be inoculated against COVID-19 by Dec. 18. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for mayor, on Friday called for that mandate to be repealed, saying he believes "it should be a matter of personal choice and that we should respect our employees' civil liberties and allow them to make their own personal medical decisions."

The mandate for city employees to be vaccinated was approved by the City Council on Aug. 18.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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