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Bars, Concert and Sports Venues In LA County Are Preparing To Check Your Vax Status At The Door

A man wearing a mask outside of a private club in North Hollywood checks the vaccine status of a member before allowing entry.
A man outside of a private club in North Hollywood checks a member's vaccine status.
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Staff at bars in L.A. County will soon have another responsibility on top of checking IDs and dealing with the general shenanigans that people cause when there’s alcohol involved.

And there will be additional duties as well for people who work the gates at large concert and sports venues.

That’s because of a new order from the County Department of Public Health designed to prevent continuing surges of COVID-19.

Beginning Oct. 7, at both indoor and outdoor event venues with a capacity of 10,000, attendees will have to show proof they are either fully vaccinated or have a recent negative coronavirus test.

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In a written statement, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home to the Rams and Chargers, said all games and events adhere to public health orders: “As we receive further guidance from the L.A. County Department of Health, we will communicate when this updated policy will go into effect at SoFi Stadium and how we will be implementing these new guidelines.”

Kids under 12, who have not yet been approved for vaccine use, will be allowed to use a negative coronavirus test to get into indoor venues, such as a concert arena.

And for anywhere else in L.A. County where you would go out for a drink and mingle with other people indoors and unmasked, perhaps with a bit too much abandon, staff will have to check patron’s vaccination status before letting them in.

Starting Oct. 7, bars and venues can accept proof of a single vaccine dose. But by Nov. 4, they can only allow in people with both doses. (Single-dose J&J people accepted, of course.)

Businesses are not allowed to accept a negative test, just a vaccine card or digital record.

The types of businesses named in the order are considered by the county to be high-risk for spread of infection.

Mikeal Maglieri owns the Rainbow Bar and Grill and the Whisky a Go Go, so he has to contend with health orders from L.A. County and the city of West Hollywood.

“It's more of the crowd response and people complaining or not having their stuff on them,” Maglieri said. “Most of our employees are vaccinated, but I know there's a good amount of customers that come in that aren't.

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He says there’s less pressure at the Rainbow because it has an outdoor area, but the Whisky is all indoors. “If you want to come to a show, you have to be vaccinated or you’re not coming in,” Maglieri said.

The venue owner says while there will be some aggravation at the door, and maybe some immediate losses, staying open is what’s best for business in the long run. He hears from venue owners in New York City, where similar mandates are already in place, that the change was good for business because more people felt safe to come out.

“I think it's what's going to keep us open,” said Maglieri, referring to the new health rules. “We went through such a struggle last year. To avoid that, if this is what we have to deal with, it's what we have to deal with.”

He estimates both establishments lost about 40% in profits during the lockdowns.

But Maglieri also questions how effective the rules will be.

“At the end of the day, someone could hand me a white piece of paper that they made themselves,” he said. “I have no way of even verifying whether it's real or not, so nothing's being set up properly. It's kind of like a mess.”

L.A. County says it will provide tools, including free apps, to help with the verification process. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer says if businesses are already checking IDs at the door, including vaccine proof shouldn’t require additional staff.

Restaurants with indoor seating are not required to follow the new orders, but Public Health strongly recommends they do.

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