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LA Businesses Will Face Fines If They Don't Enforce The City's Vaccine Mandate

A doorman checks a customer's vaccination card before allowing him to enter a business in San Francisco, California.
San Francisco has for months had a vaccine requirement to enter businesses. L.A.'s similar requirement is now being enforced.
(Justin Sullivan
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Angelenos need to keep their vaccine proof handy. The city of Los Angeles is now enforcing SafePass LA, one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the United States.

The ordinance requires people ages 12 and up to be fully vaccinated before they're allowed to enter indoor public venues such as gyms, shopping centers and restaurants.

“No one is forcing anyone to get vaccinated,” said L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez at the October meeting when the law was passed. “But if you don’t, there are certain things you will not be able to do without showing proof of vaccination.”

Restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, museums and other indoor venues that don’t verify patrons are vaccinated before allowing them to enter could face fines, which start after the second violation at $1,000 and escalate to $5,000 for the fourth and any subsequent violations, according to the city’s ordinance.

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There are exemptions. People who claim a medical or religious reason for not getting vaccinated can instead provide a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of entering the indoor space, but only if an outdoor area is not available.

People who aren’t vaccinated can still use outdoor areas and are allowed to briefly go indoors to use the restroom, order food or pick up an item if they’re masked.

San Francisco and New York City have had similar requirements for months.

The law also requires people at outdoor events with 5,000 to 9,999 attendees to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test. It also applies to private events such as weddings. It does not apply to shelters or food banks.

Health officials say the vaccine verification is needed to encourage more people to get immunized and stop the cycle of coronavirus surges. So far, 74% of county residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to county data.

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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.