L.A. Council to Consider Vaccine Mandate for Theaters and Restaurants

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The Los Angeles City Council will consider imposing a vaccine requirement for entry into restaurants, gyms and movie theaters, a day after the City of New York set a similar mandate.

L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez — who’s in line to become acting mayor once Mayor Eric Garcetti is confirmed as ambassador to India — introduced a motion at the council on Wednesday.

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“Enough is enough already,” she said in a statement. “We have three vaccines that work and are readily available, so what’s it going to take?”

In a statement, Garcetti’s spokesman did not endorse the idea, but said that all options are on the table.

“The Mayor shares the sense of urgency to get more Angelenos vaccinated,” said the spokesman, Alex Comisar. “He isn’t taking anything off the table, and is continuing to discuss this approach with our public health experts at the County.”

Los Angeles County has already reimposed a mask mandate for indoor public settings, which applies regardless of vaccine status. The new ordinance, if adopted, would require that patrons have at least one vaccine dose in order to enter “restaurants, bars, retail establishments, fitness centers, spas, and entertainment centers such as stadiums, concert venues, and movie theaters.”

That scope is much broader than New York’s vaccine requirement, which is limited to indoor dining, fitness facilities and indoor entertainment centers. The motion, if adopted, would direct the city attorney to draft a proposed ordinance, which would in turn have to be approved by the council and signed by the mayor.

The mandate would apply only to those who are eligible to get the vaccine. So children younger than 12, who are not currently eligible, would not be barred from such venues.

Earlier this year, the major theater chains dropped their requirement that patrons wear masks while indoors.

Several jurisdictions have begun imposing vaccine mandates on public employees, with the option for regular COVID testing if those employees refuse. The state of California has also mandated vaccines for health care workers and state employees.

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