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L.A. Makes Moves to Remove Vaccine Requirement at Bars and Restaurants

12:33 PM PST on March 10, 2022

March 10, 2022 Chinatown

Good news for Angelenos who are tired of COVID mandates. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to lift the city’s vaccine verification requirement.

It’s the latest step that local politicians and health officials have taken recently to ease COVID restrictions, as coronavirus transmission steadily falls. Earlier in the month the city and county made masking optional (if you’re vaccinated) in most settings.  

The new policy won’t go into effect until the city attorney’s office drafts a new ordinance and the city council approves it but all signs are pointing to an end to vaccine verification requirements at restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and other locations in the near future, regardless of a patron’s vaccination status.

Proof of vaccination will still be required at indoor “mega-events” such as Laker games, where more than 1,000 people are in attendance. Or if businesses choose to continue to require proof of vax.

Citing a significant decrease in transmission and relatively high vaccination rates, local officials are following in the footsteps of major cities like New York, Philadelphia and Boston. “We may have to do this again with COVID, but in the meantime, we can’t sit at home hoping that it doesn’t come while our city is not prospering,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said earlier this week.

In the City of L.A., average COVID case rates over the past week have decreased more than 30 percent. Hospitalization and death metrics are also falling. And on a county level, more than 80 percent of residents over the age of five years old are at least partially vaxxed.

Still, hundreds of people are catching COVID and dozens are dying of the disease on a daily basis. More than 1,110 cases of COVID were reported in the county the day the city council voted to draft an ordinance to repeal vaccine verification. That’s roughly the same amount of cases that were reported in early December, during the early weeks of yet another surge.

In one ear health officials are urging residents to get vaxxed and continue to wear masks voluntarily, in the other, politicians are encouraging folks to return to “normal.” The conflicting messaging from health officials and politicians is confusing to some and down right scary for immunocompromised residents.

“As a country, we have had many conflicting mandates in cities and states, in private and public spaces, and in private and public schools.” Chris Beyrer, a medical doctor and professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told Verywell. “This patchwork approach has not served us well and is one of the reasons we have had more losses of life than other industrialized countries.”

But for the minority of people who conflate health mandates intended to keep the public safe with Hitler and the holocaust, the city council vote was a victory. “We’re going to take steps to make sure you tirants can never do anything like this again,” a caller associated with said during Wednesday’s meeting. Another caller claimed that the mandates were “Nuremberg level.”

A number of anti-COVID mandate organizations are currently pushing for a ballot measure that they hope will make public health mandates illegal in the future.

“The fact that you think you have the power to tell people what to put in and out of their bodies is just absolutely insane, you know, absolute fascism.” Another caller associated with said.

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