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LOS ANGELES, CA – Come November, Los Angeles will become the newest U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 inoculation from its residents in order to access any public or private indoor establishment, in what is being called one of the strictest vaccination mandates in the nation thus far.
The new mandate, which was passed by the City Council on Wednesday and approved by Mayor Eric Garcetti later that day, will press patrons to provide proof of having been inoculated against COVID-19 in order to gain entry to gyms, restaurants, retail stores, spas and salons, entertainment venues, and more.
In addition, large-scale outdoor events will also require attendees to show proof of vaccination or be barred from entering.
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Acceptable forms of proof consist of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued vaccination card, valid health care provider documents, or a digital record of vaccination issued by California or another state or county.
Those who have religious or medical exemptions for not being vaccinated will be required to show proof of the exemption, as well as a negative COVID-19 test.
The mandate was opposed by numerous residents who sent letters, with many stating that the policy was “unconstitutional and unenforceable.” However, the City Council noted that the decision to issue the new mandate was driven by a recent spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the more contagious Delta variant, despite the fact that overall cases of the virus have gone down nationwide as of late.
Penalties for violating the mandate include a warning for the first infraction, a $1,000 fine for the second, $2,000 for the third, and $5,000 for the fourth. Unvaccinated customers must use outdoor spaces only, and if they temporarily enter the venue for any reason, they must be wearing a mask at all times.
This goes along with another recently-passed mandate that requires all students, from elementary through high school, to be vaccinated in order to attend class.
Other cities that have instituted similar vaccination mandates include West Hollywood, San Francisco and New York City.