Unvaccinated People Are Banned From Bars Here as of Oct. 7, Officials Say
The new regulations will require proof of vaccination at bars, wineries, breweries, and nightclubs.
The summer COVID-19 surge caused by the Delta variant has put a renewed urgency behind the push to get more people vaccinated. This has led to mandates being established in places like New York City that require people to have received their shots to eat indoors, go to a theater, or exercise in a gym. Now, Los Angeles has become the latest major city to announce it will enact its own mandate that will see anyone who is unvaccinated banned from entering indoor bars by early next month.
According to a statement made by officials on Sept, 15, all customers and employees at bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges in Los Angeles County will be required to have received at least one dose of vaccine for entry to the venues as of Oct. 7. A second shot will be required for entry as of Nov. 4.
The mandate also requires that all outdoor events with 10,000 people or more require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours. Notably, restaurants are exempt from the mandate but are recommended to ask for proof of vaccination for indoor seating.
"As evidence mounts affirming the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination mandates are an increasingly important tool to prevent future COVID surges that cause widespread suffering," Barbara Ferrer, PhD, public health director of Los Angeles County, said during a meeting with the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 15. "This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges."
According to Los Angeles County Public Health data, 67 percent of eligible Angelinos aged 12 or older are fully vaccinated as of Sept. 13. This puts the nation's most populous county just above the current national vaccination rate of 63.4 percent, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of Sept. 15.
During a press briefing on Sept. 15, California Gov. Gavin Newsom showed support for the decision, saying that while state officials "believe in localism and want to support local health decisions," there were still no plans to enact a statewide mandate for the time being. When pressed by reporters why such regulations were being enacted as cases across the state have been in significant decline, he replied that it "was around this time last year we started to see that stabilization and decline as well, yet to experience that winter surge."
"We need to be vigilant," he told reporters during the briefing. "Of course, the best way to mitigate that … is to continue our vaccine efforts, and if this encourages more people to get vaccinated, then I believe it's the right thing to do, and I continue to encourage others to follow that path."
The move by county health officials comes days after Los Angeles County became the first major school district to announce a vaccine mandate for public school students aged 12 or older attending in-person learning. The regulations will affect more than 460,000 pupils in what local school officials say is the best way to ensure that classrooms will be able to stay open throughout the school year.
Los Angeles County's bar vaccine mandate isn't the first to be put in place by a major city, but it's less strict than others that have been enacted in recent weeks. In New Orleans, people must show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test to enter certain bars, restaurants, breweries, gyms, fitness centers, sports complexes, and stadiums, per CNN. San Francisco began requiring proof of vaccination at indoor restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms, and large indoor events on Aug. 20. And on Aug. 17, New York City's expansive mandate went into effect, requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining, fitness centers, entertainment venues, nightclubs, pools, museums, and other public spaces.