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City Of LA’s Indoor Vaccine Mandate May Soon End

A close-up of a hand in a green plastic glove holding a blank COVID-19 vaccination record card.
A healthcare worker displays a COVID-19 vaccine record card.
(Nathan Howard
Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday took a step toward dropping the city’s indoor vaccine mandate.

Members unanimously passed a motion by Council President Nury Martinez instructing the city attorney to write a new ordinance that would roll back the requirements.

Even if it’s passed, individual businesses could still ask customers for proof of vaccination.

Since Nov. 8, the city has required everyone aged 12 and up to show proof they are vaccinated before entering indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, and other businesses. The law remained in place as the omicron surge infected and hospitalized thousands of Angelenos before beginning to recede in late January.

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Falling COVID cases and hospitalizations prompted the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health to drop its indoor vaccination requirement for bars, nightclubs, lounges and outdoor mega events this week.

“The goal of the policy is to make these settings lower risk for people, and being in a setting where everyone is vaccinated is lower risk than being in a setting where half the people are vaccinated,” said Dr. Paul Adamson, an infectious disease physician at UCLA, on our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk, which airs on 89.3 KPCC.

Adamson said he didn't know how well the current vaccine checks were being enforced, but he added that rescinding the mandates is reasonable during times of low transmission. However, he said “we need to prepare for a future that might include times of high transmission and what sort of policies we'll have in place to protect the public at that time.”

A state law still requires people attending an indoor mega event with more than 1,000 people to prove they are vaccinated or supply a recent negative test.

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Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.