You will have to show vaccine proof at L.A. nightclubs and bars. How it will work

A bar patron shows a phone and ID to a bartender
Customers show proof of vaccination inside Permanent Records Roadhouse in Los Angeles on July 30.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges in much of Los Angeles County will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination under a new health order to be issued by Friday.

The basics

The mandate will require patrons and employees to have at least one vaccine dose by Oct. 7 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4.

Under the new order, participants and workers at outdoor “mega events” with more than 10,000 attendees will also need to provide proof of vaccination or show that they’ve recently tested negative for the coronavirus, also starting Oct. 7. That requirement is already in place for indoor events of at least 1,000 people.


About 67% of Angelenos already have been at least partially inoculated against COVID-19, according to The Times’ tracker.

According to Sheriff Chad Bianco, “The government has no ability and no authority to mandate your health choices.”

Sept. 14, 2021

Indoor restaurants

County health officials also were strongly recommending — though not requiring — vaccination verification at indoor portions of restaurants.

The county’s requirement that residents wear masks in indoor public settings will remain in place, she added.

Details, comparisons

The order would affect all areas of Los Angeles County except Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own public health departments.

While a Pasadena spokesman said the city is “waiting to review the health order to determine how we’ll move forward,” officials in Long Beach already have decided to align their local rules with the county’s.


“Throughout the pandemic, the city has proactively protected its residents and visitors using data and recommendations from medical experts,” Long Beach officials said in a statement. “Data show that those who are 18-34 years old are least likely to be vaccinated and are being infected at higher rates than other age groups. Indoor bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries are considered some of the most high-risk settings and have the highest instances of interaction without masks.”

Still, an order along the lines of what’s planned in L.A. County will not be as expansive as public health directives in other parts of California.

  • San Francisco and Berkeley require customers 12 and older in indoor restaurants, bars and gyms to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Contra Costa County, the Bay Area’s third most populous, has ordered those customers to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result.
  • 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 to enter indoor restaurants and bars.
  • The L.A. City Council is considering its own law to require customers of indoor restaurants and gyms to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. City attorneys are drafting a proposed ordinance.

Cal State universities, USC and two UC undergraduate campuses start classes this week — a chance to see whether vaccines, masks and regular testing can minimize spread of the Delta variant.

Aug. 24, 2021

How it will work

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said L.A. County’s vaccination verification requirement was tailored to businesses that were considered to pose a greater risk of coronavirus transmission.

Although each establishment is different, Ferrer said, county health inspectors have noted settings where “for the most part, all of the patrons, all the customers are there without a mask on — mostly because they have a drink in hand. They’re walking around and there’s a lot of dancing, there’s a lot of close contact with lots and lots of people.

“This isn’t all bars,” she continued. “I want to acknowledge that there are places where people go, it’s super quiet, you sit at a quiet table and the risk would obviously be less. But in general, the bars are higher-risk settings than restaurants.”

She also noted that the establishments covered under the county’s forthcoming order should already be well-versed in checking identification to verify that patrons are of drinking age — making it easier to also screen vaccination status.

Ferrer said residents could demonstrate their inoculation history using digital records provided by either the county or the state, or by showing their vaccine card or a photograph of it.

Some L.A. bars and restaurants have already implemented their own requirements of vaccination proof or a recent negative coronavirus test as a condition of entry.