Monday, November 29, 2021

Proof of vax required as the strict mandate takes effect in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Yoga studio owner David Gross was relieved after Los Angeles passed a vaccination mandate that is one of the strictest in the country. The measure takes effect Monday and requires confirmation of injections for everyone in a wide variety of businesses, from restaurants to shopping malls and theaters to nail and hair salons.

For Gross, relief came from the realization that he and his co-owner did not need to unilaterally decide whether to check their clients’ vaccinations. In another area of ​​town, a nail salon manager who is struggling, in awe and expects to lose clients. “It will be difficult for us,” said Lucila Vasquez.

Los Angeles is among the growing US cities, including San Francisco and New York, where people are required to show proof of vaccination to visit various types of businesses and places. But the rules in the country’s second-most populous city, called SafePassLA, apply to more types of businesses and other indoor spaces, including museums and convention centers.

They are coming to fruition as new cases began to rise gradually after a sharp decline from the deltoid-induced peak in August.

It was the time of year in 2020 when California was just beginning its worst spike in the pandemic, with an average of 500 deaths every day by January. Los Angeles became the epicenter of the state, and its hospitals were so overwhelmed with patients that ambulances stood in the street with people breathing hard, waiting for the beds to open.

So many people died that the morgues were overcrowded and refrigerated trucks were brought in to deal with the overcrowding. This grim scene played out when coronavirus vaccines emerged and California and Los Angeles began aggressive vaccination efforts.

Among approximately 10 million Los Angeles County residents, 80% of eligible residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 71% of them are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.

To guard against anything resembling the January massacre, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-2 last month to mandate that people 12 and older be fully vaccinated to enter gated public spaces, including sports arenas. museums, spas, closed city facilities and others. locations.

Negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours of entering these facilities will be required for people exempt from vaccinations for religious or medical reasons. Customers without proof may still use outdoor amenities and may briefly enter the business to use the toilet or pick up a food order.

Although the order goes into effect Monday, city officials say they won’t begin enforcing it until November 29 to give businesses time to adjust. The first violation will result in a warning, but subsequent violations may result in fines ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 5,000.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who tested positive for coronavirus last week when he attended the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland, said the mandate would encourage more people to get injections and make business safer for employees and clients.

“Vaccinating the angels is our only way out of this pandemic, and we must do everything in our power to continue to increase those numbers,” Garcetti said.

Business trade groups say the mandate will cause confusion because Los Angeles County’s own vaccination regulations, which apply to dozens of nearby communities, are less radical. Cities are allowed to adopt stricter rules than counties.

“There is a tremendous lack of clarity here,” said Sarah Wiltfong, senior policy manager for the Los Angeles County Business Federation. For example, most retail stores are tax exempt. “But shopping malls and malls are included, which of course includes retail stores,” she said.

Harassment of workers tasked with checking vaccinations is a major concern for business federation members, Wiltfong said.

“This puts employees in a potentially conflict-prone position where they are not necessarily trained to handle situations like this,” she said.

Showrooms were particularly hit during the pandemic and were among the last businesses to open indoors. Prior to COVID, the Lynda nail salon in the Los Feliz area was regularly filled with clients doing hair and nail treatments. On Wednesday morning, only one woman waited for her hair to be fixed.

Vazquez, who runs the business, said she would follow the new rules, although many of her hair clients said they would not come if it required vaccinations.

Gyms and yoga studios like the one co-owned by Gross also fall under this order. He doesn’t like it when his staff play the role of law enforcers checking the vaccination status of each client. But now that the rule is written in the books, he and his partner Lydia Stone must make one less decision when they return to yoga classes in Highland Park.

In anticipation of the new rules, the studio last month began encouraging its loyal customers to submit their vaccination cards online so they don’t have to show them at the beginning of every lesson. Gross and Stone said it would be heartbreaking to reject anyone.

“You know, the city council decided, the mayor signed it, and we have no choice but to abide by the law,” Gross said, adding that the possibility of punishment for breaking the law “would be huge damage” to a yoga business that barely survives after closure due to the bulk of the pandemic.

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