Los Angeles County has imposed a sweeping new health order that requires both patrons and employees to show they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 at a number of indoor businesses.
The new requirements, which officially went into effect just before midnight Friday, mean that Angelenos will need to make sure they have some kind of inoculation record handy before heading out for a night on the town.
“All the information we have shows that you’re much less likely to get infected if you’re vaccinated, and how powerfully protective these vaccines are from the most severe outcomes of infection with this virus,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday.
“And it’s this information that allows us to feel confident that targeted vaccination requirements offer our best hope for getting back more quickly to low transmission and, hopefully, ending cycles of surges.”
Here’s what you need to know:
L.A. County’s latest health order requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, nightclubs and lounges. Such screening is not necessary for outdoor areas.
Patrons and employees at those businesses now need to show they have had at least one vaccine dose. They must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4.
County health officials also strongly recommend, but do not require, vaccination verification at indoor portions of restaurants.
Children under 12, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, are exempt from the requirement.
Additionally, participants and workers at outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees — such as concerts, sporting contests and amusement parks — now need to provide proof of vaccination or show they have recently tested negative for the coronavirus.
“So if you’re going to a Halloween event at Universal Studios or Magic Mountain, or you’re cheering on any of our talented L.A. sports teams by attending a game at an indoor or outdoor arena, please be prepared to show your proof of vaccination or negative test result if you’re 12 or older,” Ferrer said.
Starting Nov. 1, L.A. County health officials also will require adult patrons of sizable outdoor events to show photo identification that matches their vaccination or testing records. Children younger than 18 will not need to show photo ID.
While some might find these new requirements confusing or frustrating, Ferrer stressed that patrons shouldn’t take things out on the workers at a particular venue or event.
“There isn’t really any point in getting angry with the staff at the sport venues or at the theme parks,” she said. “These are the county rules, and these establishments are doing their very best to add layers of protection for their workers and customers, as required by the public health department.”
Individuals can show either the physical vaccination card they should have received at the time they got their shots, or a photo of it.
All coronavirus tests must have been performed within 72 hours prior to entry to an event or venue. Those records need to include a person’s name, type of test performed and the negative result.
More information on testing sites is available at covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
If customers don’t show proof that they’ve been inoculated, businesses covered under the new vaccine-verification requirement can still serve them outdoors if they have the space.
But at large events, operators can turn away those who don’t have the necessary records.
Smaller exterior settings generally present lower risk of coronavirus transmission, according to health officials.
“Like other safety requirements that we must follow to protect each other from harm — such as traffic rules, smoking prohibitions and licensing requirements — vaccinations significantly reduce the likelihood that we unintentionally infect others with a dangerous virus,” Ferrer said.
While the county’s new rules are already in effect, even more stringent requirements will soon be implemented in the city of Los Angeles.
The L.A. City Council on Wednesday approved a new ordinance requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination when customers enter indoor facilities, including coffee shops, gyms, museums, bowling alleys and spas.