The Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance this week, effective November 4th, that requires patrons of large events or indoor restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, gyms and other indoor venues to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination for admission.
The City’s new ordinance follows the updated Los Angeles County Health Officer Order (“HOO”) that contains similar vaccination requirements for those entering (or working at) covered large so-called “Mega Events”, and in indoor portions of bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs and lounges. The County’s HOO went into effect on Thursday, October 7th.
Additionally, the City of West Hollywood’s own vaccination mandate goes into effect on Monday, October 11th. Our previous issue of Compliance Matters summarizing the West Hollywood ordinance is available here.
Employers should know that the County’s Health Department recently issued a helpful, detailed business toolkit to assist employers in their efforts to comply with the new HOO. Notably, the County will also assist in scheduling onsite mobile vaccination clinics for businesses in need of that service. The toolkit is available here.
Below is a general summary of the new City and County vaccination requirements.
The County of Los Angeles Health Officer Order
Mega Events. Indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees must verify that all attendees are either fully vaccinated or received a negative COVID-19 viral test result (within 72 hours) pre-entry. Beginning October 7th, outdoor events with 10,000 or more attendees must do the same prior to entry to the event. Event operators must ensure that the full vaccination or negative COVID test requirements are prominently placed on all communications, including reservation and ticketing systems.
Bars, Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries, Nightclubs, and Lounges. Beginning October 7th, bars, breweries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges (“covered businesses”) must require all patrons to provide proof that they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into the indoor portions of the facility. Effective November 4th, all patrons and on-site employees must provide proof of full vaccination (i.e., 14 days have passed since their final COVID-19 vaccination dose) to enter the indoor portions of the facility. Employees who cannot receive COVID-19 vaccination due to a sincerely held religious belief or medical reason must be tested for COVID-19 weekly.
The HOO and accompanying guidance provide specific definitions for facilities subject to the requirements as a covered business. Notably, full-service restaurants with a connected bar are not covered by the vaccination requirements; lounges and nightclubs are only covered if they are adult-only.
Requirements for Unvaccinated Patrons of Covered Businesses. Patrons who cannot provide the requisite proof of vaccination may be served in and use only the outdoor portions of the facility. They may only enter the indoor portions of the facility for the following purposes and must be wearing a well-fitted mask: (1) as part of their employment to make a delivery or pick-up, provide a service or repair to the facility, or for an emergency or regulatory purpose; (2) to access the outdoor portion of the facility; (3) to use the restroom; and (4) to order, pick-up, or pay for food or drink to go.
Verification of Vaccination Status. Businesses must follow the guidance released by the LADPH when verifying proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Patrons and employees must provide both a photo ID and documentation demonstrating the required vaccination status. Self-attestation is insufficient and the name on the photo ID and vaccination documentation must match. A vaccination card, a photo of the card as a separate document, a photo of the card on a phone or electronic device, or a digital vaccination record issued by California are all acceptable.
The City of Los Angeles Ordinance
Covered Businesses. The City’s ordinance is substantially broader than the County’s new HOO and applies to all of the following businesses located within the City of Los Angeles:
- Any establishment where food or beverages are served, including, but not limited to, restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, breweries, wineries, distilleries, banquet halls, and hotel ballrooms.
- Gyms and fitness venues, including, but not limited to: gyms, recreation facilities, fitness centers, yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre, and dance studios, hotel gyms, boxing and kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps, and other facilities used for conducting indoor group fitness classes
- Entertainment and recreation venues, including, but not limited to, movie theaters, music and concert venues, live performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, convention centers, exhibition halls, museums, malls, shopping centers, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, play areas, pool and billiard halls, and other recreational game centers; and
- Personal care establishments, including spas, nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons, estheticians, skin care and cosmetology services, body art professionals, piercing shops, and massage therapy, except as medically required.
Businesses already subject to the vaccination requirements of the County’s HOO (i.e., bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, nightclubs, and lounges), as well as facilities without an indoor space are not covered by the City’s new ordinance.
Outdoor Large Events. Beginning November 4th, operators of outdoor events with between 5,000 and 9,999 attendees must verify proof of “full vaccination” (i.e., 14 days have passed since their final COVID-19 vaccination dose) or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (taken within the previous 72 hours) for each attendee prior to entry.
Vaccination Requirement for Covered Businesses. Beginning November 4th, all persons who enter, patronize, or purchase goods or services at a covered business must provide proof of full vaccination upon their first in-person interaction with staff in an indoor portion of the facility.
Exemptions from the Vaccination Requirement. A person may be exempt from the vaccination requirement if they cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccination due to a sincerely held religious belief or medical condition. To be eligible for an exemption, the person must provide the business with a self-attestation that they cannot receive COVID-19 vaccination due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief. If the business determines that the person qualifies for an exemption, the business must require them to use the outdoor portion of the facility. If the outdoor portion is unavailable, then the person must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (taken within the previous 72 hours) and a photo ID to use the indoor portions of the facility.
A person who is ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., under 12 years old) is also exempt from the vaccination requirements.
Requirements for Unvaccinated Persons. Unvaccinated persons who do not qualify for an exemption may continue to use the outdoor portions of the facility. They can enter the indoor portions of the facility, while wearing a well-fitting mask, for brief and limited periods of time to do the following: (1) use the restroom; (2) order, pick-up, or pay for food or drink to go; or (3) perform necessary repairs.
Verification of Vaccination Status. A person must verify their full vaccination status by providing a photo ID and proof of vaccination. A sufficient photo ID includes any of the following: (1) driver’s license; (2) government issued identification card; (3) school or work identification card; or (4) passport. For proof of vaccination, a person can show any of the following: (1) a vaccination card issued by the CDC; (2) a photo of both sides of a vaccination card; (3) documentation of vaccination from a licensed healthcare provider; or (4) a personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by California or similar documentation issued by another state, local, or foreign governmental jurisdiction, or private company. The proof of vaccination must include the person’s name, type of vaccine received, and date the last dose was administered.
Required Signage. Beginning October 21st, all covered businesses must prominently display an advisory notice informing persons that proof of vaccination is required to enter any indoor portion of the facility beginning November 4, 2021. The notice must be visible to all persons prior to entrance.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP