L.A. County to Require Proof of Vaccination at Bars

The county’s move reflects a wider shift in how far governments want to go in restricting the life of the unvaccinated.,


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L.A. County will require proof of vaccination at drinking establishments.

Patrons in the Tiki-Ti bar when it reopened on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, in July. Beginning next month, Los Angeles County is going to require proof of vaccination in bars, clubs and other establishments that serve alcohol.Credit…Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Sept. 15, 2021, 6:17 p.m. ET

Los Angeles County next month will require proof of coronavirus vaccination to enter bars, nightclubs and other drinking establishments, as it joins the list of places putting pressure on people to get vaccinated, the county authorities said.

The county will require customers and employees at such establishments, which also include wineries, breweries and lounges, to show proof that they have at least one dose of the vaccine starting on Oct. 7 and both doses by Nov. 4. The move was announced on Wednesday by Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“This is a reasonable path forward that could position us to be better able to break the cycle of the surges,” Dr. Ferrer said.

The requirement also extends to “outdoor mega events,” where attendees and employees starting on Oct. 7 must show either proof of a vaccine or of a negative Covid test within the past three days, the authorities said. Restaurants will not be included in this mandate, although the county recommends that restaurants follow it anyway. It wasn’t clear why restaurants were omitted.

The county already requires people to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

County authorities did not specify how they would ask people to prove they were vaccinated. In New York, which last month became the first U.S. city to require proof of at least one dose for a variety of activities, workers and customers can either show their paper vaccination card or present evidence via one of the city’s two apps: NYC Covid Safe or Excelsior Pass.

In France, as of Aug. 1, anyone without a “health pass” showing they have been vaccinated or recently tested negative will not be admitted to restaurants, cafes or movie theaters, and they will not be able to travel long distances by train. The Italian government announced in July that it would require people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test in order to participate in certain public activities, including indoor dining, visiting museums and attending shows.

The move in Los Angeles County comes as debate is heating up over how far governments should — or can — go in circumscribing the life of the unvaccinated. That debate has intensified after many areas, including Los Angeles County, saw a wave of new coronavirus infections fueled by the Delta variant.

The seven-day average of new cases in the county has decreased slightly after reaching a peak of 3,477 on Aug. 18, according to a New York Times database. Of the county residents eligible for a vaccine, 58 percent are fully vaccinated.

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