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L.A. considers sweeping vaccination rules for public spaces. What we know

People are seen in silhouette in an open indoor public space.
Travelers wearing masks make their way through Union Station in Los Angeles on July 16.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles’ battle against the Delta variant of the coronavirus is getting more aggressive.

This week, both city and county leaders will consider vaccination mandates for many public places.

Here is a breakdown of what officials are doing:

City of Los Angeles

Vaccination mandate

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The City Council is considering a sweeping proposal to require proof of COVID-19 inoculation as a condition of entry at a host of indoor public spaces.

The motion, by City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, would require eligible individuals to demonstrate that they’ve received at least one vaccination dose to visit indoor places such as restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, spas, movie theaters, stadiums and concert venues.

The council is scheduled to consider the proposal Wednesday.

But it’s unclear how quickly any vaccine verification mandate could go into effect. If the council signs off, City Atty. Mike Feuer still would have to draft an ordinance codifying the requirement, which would come back to the council for approval.

It also remains to be seen how such a mandate could be reasonably enforced in a city the size of Los Angeles — one that often has fallen short in carrying out its stated rules.

As the Delta variant spreads, employers are increasingly establishing vaccination mandates for their workers. Here’s how those policies look.

Employee mandate

Los Angeles will require city employees to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing to show they have tested negative.

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Many details about the plan still need to be worked out, but city departments will be directed to gather and report information about whether their employees are vaccinated.

L.A. eventually could mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for city employees without offering testing as an alternative; Mayor Eric Garcetti and the council will pursue a vaccine mandate once the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval, the mayor said in a statement.

A growing number of L.A. politicians want to require city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as infection numbers have surged again.

L.A. County

Vaccination mandate

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider drafting a proposal that would require proof of vaccination to enter certain indoor public spaces.

Supervisor Janice Hahn created a motion that asks staff and attorneys to draft a report in two weeks about what the county’s policy could look like.

“To prevent future surges and new variants from circulating, especially as we approach fall and winter, we must consider whether additional measures are necessary, such as vaccine requirements for certain settings,” Hahn said in her motion.

Hahn asked that the report consider whether a mandate should require one dose or full vaccination, and whether the policy should apply to all indoor public spaces or certain nonessential businesses and events. For example, “should grocery stores be exempt?” Hahn wrote in her motion.

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The report also would include a recommendation on the process for how people could prove their vaccination status and how businesses can verify that status using existing digital or paper records.

Any ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors would apply only to unincorporated areas. But if the L.A. County Public Health Department issued a health order mandating that proof of vaccination was required for certain indoor places, it would apply countywide.

Clubs, musicians and promoters are all adjusting on the fly to the new surge of COVID-19 infections. Many now require proof of vaccination to attend events.

Employee mandate

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Hilda Solis, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, issued an executive order last week requiring the county’s 110,000 employees to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.

Solis said the Oct. 1 due date for proof of vaccination was designed to give employees “the time they need to consult with their healthcare providers” while also “moving expeditiously to protect the health and safety” of all county workers.

The mandate applies to all county departments. Solis said exemptions would be made for medical and religious reasons.

The order goes further than mandates elsewhere in the country — including from the city of Los Angeles and the state of California — that government employees get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. Solis’ order offers no testing option.

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Times staff writers Emily Alpert Reyes and Kevin Rector contributed to this report.


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