VAT proof required as LA strict mandate goes into effect
LOS ANGELES – Yoga studio owner David Gross felt relieved after Los Angeles passed what is one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country, from theaters to nail and hair salons.
For Gross, it was a relief to know that he and his co-owner don’t have to decide unilaterally whether their customers are vaccinated. In another part of town, the manager of a troubled nail salon is scared and expects to lose clients. “It will be difficult for us,” said Lucila Vazquez.
Los Angeles is one of a growing number of cities in the United States, including San Francisco and New York City, where people are required to provide proof of vaccination in order to enter different types of businesses and venues. But the rules in the country’s second most populous city, called SafePassLA, apply to more types of businesses and other indoor locations, including museums and convention centers.
They are being implemented as new cases rise after a sharp drop from a high in August driven by the Delta variant.
That was the season in 2020 when California’s worst spike in the pandemic was just beginning, with an average of 500 people dying every day through January. Los Angeles became the epicenter of the state and its hospitals were so overloaded with patients that ambulances stood outside with people short of breath waiting for beds to be opened.
To protect themselves from anything resembling the January carnage, LA City Council voted 11-2 last month for the ordinance requiring people 12 and older to be fully vaccinated to use indoor public spaces such as sports arenas, museums, Spas, urban interiors, and other locations to enter.
Negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours of entering these facilities would be required for vaccinations for anyone with religious or medical exemption. Customers without proof can continue to use outdoor facilities and can briefly enter a shop to use a toilet or to pick up a meal order.
While the order goes into effect on Monday, city officials say they won’t enforce it until November 29, giving companies time to adjust. An initial violation will result in a warning, but subsequent fines can range from $ 1,000 to $ 5,000.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who tested positive for the coronavirus while attending the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland last week, said the mandate will encourage more people to get injections and businesses for employees and customers make it safer.
“Vaccinating more Angelenos is our only way out of this pandemic and we must do everything in our power to keep increasing those numbers,” Garcetti said.
Trade groups say the mandate will create confusion as Los Angeles County’s own vaccine rules – which apply to dozens of surrounding communities – are less stringent. Cities are allowed to issue stricter rules than those of the district.
“There is a tremendous lack of clarity,” said Sarah Wiltfong, senior policy manager at the Los Angeles County Business Federation. For example, most retail stores are excluded. “But malls and malls are part of it, which of course includes retail stores,” she said.
Harassment of workers charged with checking the vaccination is a top concern for members of the trade association, Wiltfong said.
“This puts employees in a potential position of conflict if they are not necessarily trained to deal with such situations,” she said.
The salons were particularly hard hit during the pandemic and were among the last stores to reopen inside. Before COVID, the Lynda Nail Salon in the Los Feliz district was regularly filled with customers for hair and nail appointments. On Wednesday morning, just one woman was waiting for her hair to set.
Vazquez, who runs the business, said she will be following the new rules, even though many of her hair customers have said they won’t come if they need to be vaccinated.
Fitness studios and yoga studios such as the company owned by Gross also come under the contract. He doesn’t like it when his staff play the role of enforcer and check each client’s vaccination status. But now that the rule is in the books, he and partner Lydia Stone have one less choice to make as they navigate Highland Park Yoga back to face-to-face lessons.
In anticipation of the new rules, the studio started encouraging its regular customers last month to submit their vaccination cards online so they don’t have to show them at the start of each class. Gross and Stone said it would be heartbreaking to turn someone down.
“You know, the city council decided, the mayor signed it, and we have no choice but to obey the law,” said Gross, adding the possibility of being punished for breaking the law , “Extremely harmful” for a. would be yoga business barely surviving after closing for much of the pandemic.