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Palm Springs will require vaccinations or negative Covid-19 tests for indoor dining

A view through an ornate window of diners raising their glasses in a toast.
Later this month, proof of vaccination or negative test results will be required for indoor seating at Palm Springs bars and restaurants like Trio.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The Palm Springs City Council has passed a motion that will require proof of vaccination — or recent negative COVID-19 test results — in order to dine or drink indoors. The regulations were approved unanimously during a special — and virtual — meeting Wednesday that was convened to discuss a series of new measures meant to curb the spread of the virus.

Effective immediately, customers, employees and other visitors must wear face coverings in indoor settings. The same goes for large ticketed city events outside, such as the two-weekend music festival Splash House, which begins Aug. 13.

Later this month, proof of vaccination or negative test results will be required for indoor seating at bars and restaurants, which will have three weeks to implement the restrictions. A representative for the city said that there is not a determined time window necessary for the Covid-19 test results (though within 72 hours of entry is being discussed), nor is vaccination required for employees of bars and restaurants.

Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege said the new order came at the request of many Palm Springs’ restaurateurs: Before Wednesday’s vote, city hall officials said a survey of local-business owners found roughly 70% in favor of the restrictions. Some restaurateurs had already begun implementing the rules.

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Last week New York City announced it will enforce similar rules for indoor dining. On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Council members Nury Martinez and Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion to require proof of vaccination or recent, negative test results. A number of L.A. restaurants and bars are already implementing these guidelines.

“I’m very much afraid in the next month that the new COVID strain is going to come in and it’s going to cause some real problems that could cause restaurants, on the inside, to close down,” LULU California Bistro co-owner Jerry Keller said during the Palm Springs City Council meeting.

Outdoor dining will not require proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test results.

According to Danny DeSelms, the city’s emergency management coordinator, COVID-19 cases double this week as compared to last week in Palm Springs. As of Aug. 3, 57.9% of Riverside County’s population is either partially or fully vaccinated. Palm Springs’ vaccination rate is notably higher, with 81% of the population partially or fully vaccinated. (North Palm Springs, a nearby but unincorporated community, is hovering at 74%.)

The new requirements, Holstege said, could help protect residents as well as the city’s depended-upon out-of-town visitors — but especially restaurant and bar staff.

“They’re really on the frontlines,” Holstege said, “so we want to make sure we do everything we can to support them as much as possible.”


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