Restaurants and bars have new COVID protocols: ‘Show us proof of vaccination or a negative test’

A woman in a cowboy hat and mask holds up a COVID vaccination card
Molly Moore shows off her vaccine card, which allowed her to gain entry into Permanent Records Roadhouse in Cypress Park.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Last month, the owner of Permanent Records Roadhouse, a combination bar, record store and music venue in Cypress Park, announced his establishment’s new COVID-19 policy: To enter, customers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test dated within the last 72 hours, in addition to ID.

You probably won’t be surprised to read that Lance Barresi’s staff immediately started to field complaints that labeled them Nazis and communists. It was suggested — incorrectly — that the policy violates the federal healthcare privacy law.

“Permanent Records Roadhouse is part of a growing chorus of Los Angeles-area restaurants and bars implementing their own COVID restrictions as the highly transmissible Delta variant causes infection rates in the region — and many parts of the country — to climb,” Stephanie Breijo reports. (And she’s got a list of 20 restaurants —including Permanent Records Roadhouse — that have established their own entrance protocols. )


I’m Alice Short, the acting food editor of The Times, and today’s newsletter looks at the some of the new ways restaurants and bars are trying to cope with the resurgence of COVID-19.

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You may remember that when the state reopened June 15, it abandoned its tier system and the guidelines for table spacing, capacity limits and mask mandates. Then, Stephanie reminds us, “in mid-July, L.A. County mandated a return to indoor masking, regardless of vaccination status. [On July 28] state health officials urged fully vaccinated Californians to resume wearing masks in indoor public settings, and the CDC recommended a return to indoor masking in public settings even for vaccinated Americans in places experiencing ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ coronavirus transmission rates.”

On Tuesday, New York City officials announced vaccination-verification requirements for many types of indoor public spaces; the next day, the city of Los Angeles announced it will consider something similar. “If passed,” Times reporter Luke Money writes, it “would be the widest-ranging vaccination-verification effort in the city yet.” And on Wednesday, the Palm Springs City Council passed a motion that will require proof of vaccination — or recent negative COVID-19 test results — to dine or drink indoors

Not everyone is on board with this approach. Last month, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach generated headlines worldwide when it decreed that proof of being unvaccinated is required for entrance.

The declaration caught the attention of columnist Steve Lopez, who wrote that his first thought was that the restaurant should be shut down and the owner fined. But then he wondered if the restaurant owner might be “on to something,” adding:

“Instead of letter grades, as we have in the windows of Los Angeles restaurants for health and safety ratings, let’s have big signs in every window, V for vaccinated and U for unvaccinated. If you want to eat at a V restaurant, you’ve got to show proof that you got the shots.”

In the meantime, Lopez turns to the experts to refute vaccine mythology and urges us not to “give up entirely on those who, at the moment, are saying no to the jab.”

A close-up of one person's hands as they hand a vaccination card to another person
Security officer Don McClaren checks for proof of vaccination status from customers before they can enter Permanent Records Roadhouse on Friday, July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)