What are L.A. County’s new vaccine verification rules? Here’s what you need to know
Wallet? Check. Driver’s license? Check. Vaccine card? Better grab that too.
When the clock struck midnight Friday, new rules took effect requiring residents throughout Los Angeles County to show proof they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 at select indoor businesses.
L.A. County is the latest — though far from only — jurisdiction to mandate such documentation as a precondition of entering certain settings.
Such screenings, officials say, will better protect the populace by limiting attendance at venues generally considered to present a higher risk of coronavirus transmission.
A new health order will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges in Los Angeles County.
The additional requirements come as the county finds itself in a sort of pandemic no-man’s land.
Although there are continued signs that the worst of the recent Delta wave might be over, officials say continued vigilance will be vital to help stave off a potential new surge as temperatures fall and residents travel and gather for the fall and winter holiday season.
“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:
What are the rules?
L.A. County’s health order requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, nightclubs and lounges.
Patrons and employees now need to show they have had at least one vaccine dose. They must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4.
“So for those that are frequenting those establishments, and you’re not yet vaccinated, you need to get started now so that you will have your second dose in time to meet that Nov. 4 deadline,” Ferrer said earlier this week.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines entail two doses, administered weeks apart. The other available vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, requires only one shot.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped by half from the summer peak, as California continues to steadily shake off the worst of the Delta surge.
County health officials also strongly recommend, but do not require, vaccination verification at indoor portions of restaurants.
Such screening is not necessary for outdoor areas. The requirement also does not apply to children under 12, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
What documentation do I need?
Affected individuals can show their physical vaccination card, a photo of it or a digital record — such as those provided by the state through its online portal at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov, or that L.A. County offers through its partner, Healthvana.
Around L.A., some businesses are asking for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter. Here’s what you need to know about vaccination records.
What else is in the order?
Participants and workers at outdoor “mega events” — those with more than 10,000 attendees — also will need to provide proof of vaccination or show they have recently tested negative for the coronavirus, starting Thursday.
That requirement will apply to sizable single-day events, such as concerts, fairs and sporting contests, but also could come into play at large county theme parks such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
A similar vaccine-or-test rule is already in place for indoor events of at least 1,000 people.
Along with the same vaccine records outlined above, attendees also can show test results either as a printed document from the administrator or laboratory, or as an email or text message displayed on a phone.
The new requirement, outlined in an L.A. County health order, starts Oct. 7 and will be in effect during the busy weeks leading up to Halloween.
Those records need to include a person’s name, type of test performed and the negative result. Tests must have been performed within 72 hours prior to entry.
Children under 12 are not required to show documentation of a negative coronavirus test.
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.
Where do these rules apply?
The county health order applies everywhere except Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own public health departments.
However, both of those cities have already said they will align their local rules with the county’s.
Customers must present proof of vaccination to enter indoor businesses in Los Angeles starting Nov. 4 under an ordinance approved by the City Council.
What about elsewhere?
Cities can opt to impose local regulations that go beyond what the county has outlined.
Notably, the L.A. City Council on Wednesday approved a new ordinance that’s far more expansive — requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, hair and nail salons, and many other indoor venues.
“These new rules will encourage more people to get the shot, and make businesses safer for workers and customers — so that we can save more lives, better protect the vulnerable and make our communities even safer as we fight this pandemic,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
Times staff writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.