Coronavirus

Los Angeles to join other cities requiring proof of vaccination to enter bars, nightclubs

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a COVID-19 vaccine record card Nov. 13, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

(CNN) — Los Angeles County, the country’s most populous county, will require customers and employees in indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination starting Oct. 7, according to a new health order issued Friday.

“This modified health officer order aligns with the continued need to reduce risk for transmission and increase vaccination coverage,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, said during a news briefing Friday. “And it offers us a reasonable path forward that hopefully positions us to be better able to break the cycle of surges.”

The county’s order is the latest in a series of similar moves from other local leaders across the US as they work to curb the spread of the dangerous and highly contagious delta variant, which has pushed hospitals to their breaking point and is claiming hundreds of American lives daily. Health care leaders have said the majority of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people.

This week, New York City began enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine passport program for most indoor activities. The city of New Orleans announced a proof of vaccine rule last month. Also in August, a San Francisco health order, requiring some high-contact indoor businesses to see vaccine proof from customers and employees, went into effect.

Los Angeles County’s new order is not required for indoor parts of restaurants but is strongly recommended. Children under 12 are exempt, Ferrer said.

Customers and employees will need to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 7 and be fully vaccinated by November 4.

The new order also requires vaccine verification or a negative test result within 72 hours for those attending mega events with 10,000 or more attendees in venues or events that are ticketed with controlled points of entry, Ferrer said, including places like sports arenas and amusement parks.

Per state standards, Californians also need to show vaccine proof or a negative test result in events with 1,000 or more participants.

The county reported more than 1,820 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and more than 1,150 people hospitalized with the virus.

Of more than 5.4 million residents who had been fully vaccinated as of September 14 in Los Angeles County, roughly 0.87% of them tested positive for the virus and 0.025% were hospitalized.

“Our data provides reassurance that these vaccines continue to provide excellent protection from COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths,” Ferrer said.

But the vaccines are not perfect, she added, and residents should layer in other ways of protection, especially where there are high levels of transmission and vulnerable residents, she said.

The county continues to remain under a mask mandate which was reinstated in July, when cases and hospitalizations climbed, fueled by the delta variant.

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