COVID-19 won’t split families over the holidays this year, but it could still interfere with their activities in Southern California. This is due to regulations that the city and Los Angeles County have put on theaters, restaurants and other places to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated – and you can prove it – there is little you can do as a visitor to Los Angeles County.
A year ago, when vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials, you were few could make. Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a curfew in much of the state last year just before Thanksgiving, barring people from leaving their homes for non-essential activities after 10pm. As infections spike in Los Angeles County, health officials have banned outdoor gatherings with more than one family. only allowed take-out food in restaurants, drastically limited the number of visitors to movie theaters and other venues, and seemed to require masks and social distancing everywhere.
Theater troupes, concert halls, comedy clubs and other nightclubs are in full swing again this year. Restaurants are the seating places for visitors inside and out. Family reunions can take place without hindrance. The mandates of masks still exist, but “nonessential activity” has disappeared from the lexicon.
This does not mean that COVID-19 has disappeared from our planet. The more time you spend with people from other families, the higher your risk of infection.
Here’s a quick rundown of the requirements that Los Angeles County and City health officials must adhere to ahead of the holiday season.
If proof of vaccination is required
A Los Angeles ordinance requires many home businesses to require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before they can let you in. “Full vaccination” means that you received your second Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or your first Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least two weeks before.
The city will not start implementing the ruling until November 29. However, numerous Los Angeles institutions have been demanding proof of vaccination for months.
Affected establishments include:
- Restaurants, bars, food courts and cafes
- Gyms and group fitness classes
- Shopping centers
- Billiard, bowling, arcades and card rooms
- Cinemas, theaters and concert venues
- Salons, hairdressers and tattoo parlors
In addition, outdoor events and attractions in the city, which are attended by 5,000 to 9,999 people, require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within the previous 72 hours. The tests are available free of charge in the city and county at over 200 pharmacies, clinics, and pop-up sites.
Unvaccinated people may ask for an exemption from vaccination by confirming their medical condition or sincere religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving the vaccine, but even then, businesses do not need to serve them indoors. Instead, businesses can direct unvaccinated clients to outdoor seating or require proof of a negative COVID test before allowing them to be indoors.
In the rest of Los Angeles County, full vaccination confirmation is only required in bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges. Unvaccinated people can use the open parts of these establishments if they have an open space.
How can you prove that you have been vaccinated?
The city and county offer several ways to document your vaccination:
- Show vaccination card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (white), the World Health Organization (yellow), or a similar foreign agency.
- If you do not want to risk losing your card, show a photocopy of it – on paper or on your phone.
- Show a digital vaccination card from the state of California or a recognized issuer such as Healthvana, or a QR code from a SMART Health Card company.
- Provide medical records in a different form.
You may also be asked to show a photo ID to prove that the vaccination record is yours.
If you are not vaccinated and are asked to provide proof of a negative COVID test result, the city says you will need a “printed document, email, or text message displayed on the phone from a testing provider or lab” that includes your name, the type of test performed , test date and negative result.
Don’t forget your mask
Vaccinated or not, you will need a mask to take advantage of the lighter COVID restrictions.
The County Public Health Ordinance states that, with very limited exceptions, customers and guests 2 years of age and older in businesses, public places, meetings, and large outdoor events must wear a face mask except during eating or drinking, showering or being alone in the room. The mask mandate also applies to anyone traveling on public transport (including taxis and shuttle buses), at transport hubs, indoors in schools or other “youth institutions”, in medical facilities, prisons or prisons, or in shelters.
No, you don’t need to put on a mask to hike to the Hollywood sign. Just don’t try to grab the Gambodian Lemongrass Roast Beef on a hike without it.