LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted to approve an ordinance that will require people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars, movie theaters, coffee shops and several other establishments, according to multiple reports.
The council passed the ordinance in an 11-2 vote, KCBS-TV reported. Mayor Eric Garcetti earlier indicated that he would sign it into law, according to the news station.
The ordinance will require people to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4 in order to enter shopping malls, gyms, sports arenas, spas and other public indoor spaces, KTLA reported. People who are not vaccinated due to religious or medical reasons will be permitted indoors after showing proof of negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours of entering the business, according to the news station. Alternatively, they will be allowed to use outdoor facilities if they are available, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Grocery stores and pharmacies were not included in the ordinance, according to KCBS.
Businesses that fail to comply with the ordinance can face escalating penalties, including fines of up to $5,000, the Times reported.
Critics called the ordinance impractical and questioned how it would affect businesses. The Los Angeles County Business Federation said it would put area businesses at “a competitive disadvantage to other neighboring areas” while the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley said it was unreasonable to expect businesses to keep people at every entrance to verify vaccination status, according to the Times.
City council members rejected those arguments and framed the issue as one of public health.
“You will not be allowed to go (certain places) to put other people at risk,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said last week, according to the Times. “You have rights. You have liberties. But with those rights and liberties come obligations to protect fellow members of your society as well.”
About 56% of the U.S. population, or 186 million people, has been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday morning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research has shown that fully vaccinated people can spread the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19. However, officials have noted that vaccination protects well against severe and life-threatening symptoms of the viral infection.
Since the start of the pandemic, officials have confirmed nearly 44 million COVID-19 infections and reported more than 706,000 deaths nationwide, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Over 236 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, resulting in more than 4.8 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.