Los Angeles County Working On Plan For Proof Of Vaccination Requirement In Indoor Public Spaces

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered plans be drafted that would require proof of vaccination to enter many public spaces. The motion was just to make a plan for such a measure, not to actually implement one.

Supervisor Janice Hahn called for the proof of vaccination evaluation “to correct course on what we see as the Delta variant gone wild.” She noted that just about 4 million of the county’s 10 million residents remain unvaccinated.”

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Hahn’s proposal called on health officers and other county leaders to analyze vaccine requirements for public spaces in other regions, especially New York’s, which she said “shows promising results and may build a case for implementing similar mandates in other cities.” She called on public health and other county officials to report back to the board “on possible options for requiring vaccines in certain indoor public spaces” and how those would be implemented.

Among the questions Hahn wants answered were whether such a measure should include all non-essential public spaces, how residents would verify their vaccination and, if everyone indoors is vaccinated, would masking requirements then be relaxed? Referencing the 2020 shutdown, she said of her motives for the proposal, “We don’t want to get to a place where we shut down businesses (again).”

The motion to authorize such a report passed by a Board vote of 5-0.

You can read Hahn’s full proposal here.

The text of agenda item passed by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday reads as follows:

Recommendation as submitted by Supervisor Hahn: Instruct the Director of Public Health, in concert with the Director of Consumer and Business Affairs and County Counsel, to report back to the Board within 14 days on possible options for requiring vaccines in certain indoor public spaces in the County, with the report to look at other jurisdictions that have adopted similar mandates (i.e. New York City, France, possibly City of Los Angeles), consider whether a mandate should require one dose or full vaccination and whether the policy should apply to all indoor public spaces or certain non-essential businesses and events (i.e. should grocery stores be exempt); and instruct the Director of Public Health to report back to the Board in 14 days with the process for how people can prove their vaccination status and businesses can verify vaccination status using existing digital forms of records and/or paper records.

Board Chair Hilda Solis issued an executive order last week that mandates all 110,000 city employees be vaccinated. The board ratified that order by a vote of 5-0 on Tuesday.

The L.A. mandate is more sweeping than those from other government entities, including the state of California, which require that government employees get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. The executive order does not include a testing option. You can read the order here.

In her initial statement, Solis indicated she hopes other employers in the county will follow the county’s lead.

Solis’ order came on the same day that Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez introduced a proposal under which proof of at least partial vaccination against Covid-19 would be required to enter public indoor spaces in the city of Los Angeles — including restaurants, bars, gyms, concert venues, movie theaters and even “retail establishments.”

Martinez introduced the motion with Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. It is similar to a policy announced this week in New York City, but would be more restrictive with the inclusion of retail establishments — potentially limiting access to some basic necessities.

According to O’Farrell’s office, the exact businesses that would fall under the restrictions would be determined during the drafting of the ordinance by city attorneys. No determination has yet been made on whether such retail restrictions would extend to grocery stores.

A New York City policy restricts access only to more entertainment-oriented venues such as indoor restaurants, fitness centers and theaters.

President Biden has required federal workers to attest they’ve been vaccinated or submit to masking and regular testing. He’s also looking into requiring private companies who contract the federal government to do the same. Biden praised The Walt Disney Company, Netflix, Google, Fox Corp. and other private companies on Tuesday for instituting new vaccine requirements for their employees.

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