Strict vaccination mandate begins for Los Angeles businesses
For CEO Ian Hillan, the tenure is just one more thing the restaurant has to contend with during the pandemic. Staff and supply chain issues – they recently struggled to get towels and certain types of beer – are more pressing issues.
Over the past few weeks, Fred 62 has finally reached pre-pandemic customer levels. Hillan hopes the tenure might turn out to be a good thing if more diners feel comfortable eating inside.
“It can just help us stay busier,” Hillan said.
The new rule covers businesses ranging from restaurants to shopping malls and theaters to nail and hair salons. Business groups say the mandate will cause confusion and could present safety concerns for employees tasked with checking clients’ immunization status.
City officials are giving businesses time to adjust to the new rules and won’t start inspections and enforcement until November 29. Violators will receive a warning first and a fine of $ 1,000 for a second violation. Additional infractions will result in increased fines.
“These rules are in place to keep Angelenos safe and help us restore the economy as quickly as possible,” Harrison Wollman, spokesperson for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in a statement. Garcetti tested positive for the virus last week. .
“We are committed to working closely with local businesses so that they have the information and resources they need to better protect their workers and customers,” the statement said.
The new rules caused little disruption at Blue Bottle Coffee in the Los Feliz neighborhood, where a sign on the front door reminded customers to show proof of vaccination to be allowed to eat inside.
Director Matthew Cadena said the morning rush had generally gone smoothly as customers handed in their vaccine cards or showed photos of the cards on their cellphones.
“Most people are easy going and understanding,” Cadena said.
The warrant was scheduled at Body Builders Gym in the Silverlake neighborhood, where employees recorded clients’ vaccination status for months in an internal system so that the proof was already verified the next time members came to the gym.
Manfred Del Cid, deputy general manager of the gymnasium, said many clients volunteered to show their proof before tenure began.
“It seems our demographics want to know they’re safe,” he said.
Los Angeles is one of a growing number of cities across the United States, including San Francisco and New York, requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter businesses and places.
But the rules for the country’s second most populous city, called SafePassLA, apply to more types of businesses and other indoor venues, including museums and convention centers.
Hundreds of people opposed to vaccination warrants for workers in the city and county of Los Angeles gathered in a downtown park on Monday. The “March for Freedom” was organized by a group of firefighters who claim that such warrants are unconstitutional.
Proof of vaccination regulations came into effect as new cases of infection rose in California, after a sharp drop from the August peak driven by the delta variant.
November was the time of year in 2020 when the worst peak of the pandemic was just beginning in California. In January of this year, 500 people died every day in the state.
Los Angeles became the epicenter of the state’s infection, and its hospitals were so overcrowded with patients that ambulances idled outside with people struggling to breathe, waiting for the beds to settle. open.
So many people died in Los Angeles that the mortuaries reached their maximum capacity and refrigerated trucks were brought in to handle the overflow. This austere scene unfolded as the coronavirus vaccines finally arrived and California and Los Angeles moved aggressively to inoculate people.
Of the estimated 10 million people in Los Angeles County, 80% of eligible residents have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 71% of those eligible are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.
To guard against anything resembling January’s carnage, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-2 last month to approve the ordinance requiring people 12 and older to be fully vaccinated to enter public spaces. interiors, including sports arenas, museums, spas, indoor city facilities and other locations.
Negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours of entering these facilities are required for people with religious or medical exemptions for vaccinations. Customers without proof can still use the outdoor facilities and can enter a business briefly to use the restroom or pick up food orders.
Business groups say the mandate will create confusion because Los Angeles County’s own vaccine rules – which apply to dozens of surrounding communities – are less drastic. Cities are allowed to adopt stricter rules than county ones.
“There is a huge lack of clarity,” said Sarah Wiltfong, senior policy director at the Los Angeles County Federation of Businesses. For example, most retail stores are exempt. “But malls and malls are included, which of course includes retail stores,” she said.
Harassment of workers who have to check vaccinations is the main concern of members of the business federation, Wiltfong said.
“This puts employees in a potential position of conflict, when they are not necessarily trained to handle such situations,” she said.
At Blue Bottle Coffee, employees ask customers if they want their order to be “here or take out”. If they say “here”, the employee asks for proof of vaccination. Those who do not present proof must eat and drink at outdoor tables.
Cafe customer Danielle Evenson in Los Angeles had her vaccine card ready after being asked for hers in front of her. She said she “felt a little more secure” after showing her card.
“If you want enough coffee, you’ll take it out immediately,” she said.