L.A. considers sweeping COVID vaccine mandate for restaurants, gyms, malls and salons

Los Angeles is considering a sweeping law requiring adult customers to show proof of full vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, shopping centers, museums, movie theaters and hair and nail salons.

The plan would be one of the strictest vaccine orders to date and will be considered by the City Council on Wednesday.

The proposal also would require adult customers to show proof of vaccination to enter bowling alleys, arcades, cardrooms and pool halls, as well as personal care establishments such as tanning salons, skin care businesses, tattoo and piercing shops, and massage therapy settings except for treatment of a medical condition.

An exemption to the requirement would be available for people with a “sincerely held religious belief” or a relevant medical condition precluding vaccination. But exempt customers must show a recent negative coronavirus test result and a written note attesting to their religious belief or medical condition for entry to the businesses requiring vaccination.

If a business has an outdoor area, people without proof of vaccination could use only that portion of the facility.

Customers who don’t provide proof of vaccination would still be able to enter a business to use the restroom or pick up a takeout order.

The proposed law also calls for requiring patrons of outdoor events with 5,000 or more attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result. L.A. County already requires such proof for outdoor events with 10,000 or more people.

The city proposal would take effect Nov. 4.

L.A. County has already issued a health order that will require patrons and workers at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges to be at least partially vaccinated by Oct. 7 and fully vaccinated by Nov. 4.

In California, cities can pass vaccination laws that are more restrictive than a county order.

L.A.'s proposal is similar to an order in place in West Hollywood. But that order does not cover malls or museums, nor does it offer exemptions for religious or other reasons.

West Hollywood will begin requiring adult customers to show proof of at least one vaccine dose on Oct. 7, and proof of full vaccination starting Nov. 4.

Palm Springs and neighboring Cathedral City have ordered patrons 12 and older to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result to enter indoor restaurants and bars.

In some ways, the proposed Los Angeles rule is more permissive than orders in San Francisco and Berkeley, which do not allow the use of a recent negative coronavirus test result to substitute for the vaccination requirement.

But the proposed L.A. rule covers more businesses than in San Francisco or Berkeley, whose orders don’t apply to malls, salons or museums.

Contra Costa County, the Bay Area’s third-most populous, requires customers of indoor restaurants, bars and gyms to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result.

San Jose requires all attendees at large indoor events at city-owned facilities to show proof of full vaccination.

Outside California, New York City requires proof of vaccination restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, arcades, pool halls and indoor play centers.

Times staff writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.

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