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Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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L.A. City Council Proposes Indoor Vaccine Mandate for Stores, Restaurants, Theaters

As cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in the region, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday introduced a motion to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for most patrons who enter indoor businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters and retail stores.Put forward by City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, the motion would require eligible individuals to demonstrate that they have received at least one vaccination dose to visit indoor businesses including restaurants, bars, shops, gyms, spas, movie theaters, stadiums and concert venues.“Enough is enough already,” Martinez said in a statement. “Hospital workers are exhausted, moms who have put aside their careers are tired, and our kids cannot afford the loss of another school year. We have three vaccines that work and are readily available, so what’s it going to take? Our kids are about to return to school, and the unvaccinated are putting their lives at risk every day. Ask your questions, talk to your doctor and get the vaccine. Let’s put this behind us.”The move comes amid a significant increase of COVID-19 cases.

There were 21,261 recorded cases in L.A. County between July 27 and Aug. 2, or 26 percent more than during the previous seven days.The motion will proceed to the city’s COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee and, if passed, will be considered by the 15-member City Council. If approved, City Attorney Mike Feuer, a mayoral candidate, would need to draft an ordinance to codify the measure and re-submit it to the Council for final approval before the vaccine requirements would take effect.For some business leaders in the region, the proposal is a step in the right direction.“One of the biggest aspects in terms of decision making was, people were fearful of litigation. You saw a few large businesses require their employees to be vaccinated, a lot of people spent a lot of man hours trying to come up with a decision,” Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry Commerce Association in Van Nuys, said. “But the fear of being sued is extremely costly. So if the government is making the decision, that takes that out of the equation.”Waldman said the motion will cut through an ineffective piecemeal approach to business restrictions that he believes will offer more clarity and legal protections for business owners.“Governmental bodies should be making uniform decisions that impact everyone in municipalities, whether that’s the city, the state or the county – we want it to be uniform. So the City Council came up with this proposal and we think that it’s the right way to go,” he said. “It’s going to keep a lot of people in business, it’s going to keep the doors open for a lot of folks. And it’s also going to push people who were vaccine hesitant to get vaccinated.”While some have pushed back on the requirement, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health applauded the proposal and the mayor’s office indicated “nothing is off the table” to prevent another surge of coronavirus cases.“There are definitely people who are opposed to vaccines or people who think that COVID isn’t a real crisis. So when you look at it through those eyes, you’re never going to have everybody agree,” Waldman added. “For us, our overall goal is to get everyone back to work, keep businesses open. And this is the best solution currently, because the alternative is not great. The alternative is going back to the tier system. The alternative is going back to a situation where you’ve reduced capacity, and no one wants that.”

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert is a Los Angeles-based reporter covering retail, hospitality and philanthropy for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. In addition to her current beat, she is particularly interested in criminal justice topics, health and science stories and investigative journalism. She received her AA in Humanities from Moorpark College in 2016, her BA in Communication from Cal Lutheran University in 2019 and followed it up with a MA in Specialized Journalism from USC in the summer of 2020. Through her work, Katherine aspires to help strengthen the fragile trust between members of the media and the public.
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