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The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance that will require residents to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter indoor spaces including movie theaters, restaurants, gyms, shopping centers, coffee shops, hair and nail salons, and numerous other venues.
The new ordinance is expected to take effect on Nov. 4.
Movie theaters aren’t expected to oppose the initiative, just as they didn’t when New York City imposed a similar mandate in late summer as an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant disrupted the box office recovery.
“In order for the exhibition industry to fully recover, we need more people to be vaccinated. It’s pure science. The rates of shots had went quite well for a while in the U.S. and then they dropped off. We need them to keep going,” National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview.
NATO, after consulting with its members, decided not to take a position either way on the NYC ordinance, and won’t object. Nor did it try to block the proposed L.A. rule, which the council has been mulling for weeks.
Wednesday’s vote was 11-2. Those dissenting were John Lee and Joe Buscaino, the latter of whom previously tried to introduce amendments that would penalize people for harassing or interfering with any employee trying to enforce the mandate. Fellow councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas reportedly said members needed more time to evaluate the amendment before a decision was made.
The new ordinance is expected to be signed quickly by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said last week that he is in favor of the strict measure: “I don’t want to bury another city employee, police officer, firefighter.” The new order expands an earlier mandate issued Sept. 17 that required customers and employees of bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. It also covered staff and participants at outdoor “mega-events” of more than 10,000 people.
“This modified health officer order aligns with the continued need to reduce risk for transmission and increase vaccination coverage,” L.A County Department of Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said during a Board of Supervisors meeting in regard to the new mandate. “This is a reasonable path forward that can position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges.”
Today’s ordinance comes amid a wider push for vaccine requirements. Just last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for public and private school children. In August, the L.A. City Council approved an ordinance that required all city workers to be fully vaccinated.
Pamela McClintock contributed to this report.
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