L.A. businesses can now be cited for not verifying COVID vaccine proof

Starting Monday, indoor businesses in Los Angeles that don’t comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine verification mandate could face citations and fines.

L.A.’s requirements for checking vaccine status — one of the strictest in the nation — went into effect on Nov. 8. Enforcement of the ordinance begins Monday, officials said.

What kind of fines do businesses face?

Operators of indoor businesses like restaurants, bars, gyms, and large outdoor events may be issued a citation for not complying with the vaccine verification ordinance.

For a first violation, the business would receive a warning and a notice to correct.

For a second violation, businesses could get an administrative fine of $1,000. If they’re found in violation a third time, they could get a fine of $2,000.

Fines of $5,000 could be given for a fourth and any subsequent violation.

What businesses are included?

L.A.’s sweeping vaccine verification program, called SafePassLA, covers a variety of indoor food and beverage establishments, gyms and fitness venues, entertainment and recreation venues, personal care establishments and indoor city facilities.

Examples include:

  • Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries
  • gyms, fitness centers, dance studios, kickboxing gyms and fitness boot camps
  • movie theaters, concert venues, convention centers and live performance venues
  • Sports arenas, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, play areas and museums
  • Senior centers
  • Tattoo and piercing parlors, spas, salons and barbershops
  • cafeterias, food courts, and hotel ballrooms

Outdoor events with 5,000 to 9,999 attendees are also included. For these events, attendees can opt to show a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of entry instead of vaccine proof.

Are there exemptions?

Those who self-attest to not getting vaccinated due to a medical reason or “sincerely held religious belief” can instead provide a negative coronavirus test taken during the 72 hours before entering an indoor venue.

Unvaccinated patrons who don’t qualify for an exemption can still opt to use outdoor areas of the venues. And they can be allowed to briefly go inside the location to use the restroom, place an order or pick up an item if they’re masked.

Non-resident performing artists, professional athletes and other non-residents accompanying artists or athletes are also exempt, officials said.

What can businesses accept as proof of vaccination?

  • The white CDC vaccination card, or similar documentation issued by another foreign government agency
  • The yellow World Health Organization vaccine card
  • A photocopy of a vaccine card, or a photo of it on a customer’s phone or other electronic device
  • A digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California, a local entity or private company (like Healthvana, Carbon Health, CommonPass, CLEAR Health Pass or VaxYes)
  • Documentation of COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider

Employees have to check if the name on the vaccination record matches a photo ID, as well as check for vaccination type and dates.

The business has to make sure that at least 14 days have passed since the customer got the Johnson & Johnson single dose or their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

More information on COVID-19 vaccination documents is available from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

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