Proof of Vaccine Requirement in L.A. County

By Nadia Geisser

Image from:  https://commons.wikimedia.org

Lisa Ferdinando

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Nadia Geisser, staff writer

According to a new health officer order issued in early October, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test will be required for admittance into some establishments within L.A. County.

As of November 4th, L.A. now mandates proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status to enter indoor shopping centers, restaurants, hair and nail salons, movie theaters, coffee shops, gyms, bowling alleys, museums, and performance venues. Attendees of outdoor events that attract crowds of 5,000 people or more will also be required to show proof of full vaccination. 

Customers with religious or medical exemptions will be allowed to use indoor facilities only with evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours and if no outdoor area is currently available. 

Customers who can’t provide proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test will be allowed to use indoor facilities for brief amounts of time to use the restroom or pick up a food order. These customers will also be provided alternative arrangements to governmental establishments and services including the online and outdoor options, and the ability to provide a negative covid test. 

This mandate won’t take full effect until November 29th to give business establishments time to adjust. There will be penalties for businesses who don’t comply with this new mandate, but the L.A. City Council wants the focus to be on education and awareness rather than fines. 

As always, masks will also be required for all establishments, except while eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status.

The purpose of this new order is solely to prevent the virus from spreading and ultimately to prevent new mutations and variants. Unfortunately, whether or not requiring proof of vaccination is an infringement on personal rights is no longer relevant due to the contractility of COVID-19 and the current vaccination rate within L.A. County.

“We do need to work together to improve vaccination coverage until we reach a vaccination level so high that the virus, or a new variant of the virus, would have trouble gaining traction. The millions of individuals who remain unvaccinated unfortunately represent opportunities for viral transmission and mutation,” says L.A. County Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer. 

By preventing unvaccinated individuals from entering public establishments, only a few are required to enforce the new health order, we further reduce the risk of them becoming infected and spreading the virus to others. Requiring proof of vaccination for certain establishments will help keep both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals safe. 

Many residents in L.A. County have expressed great concern for this new order, claiming that it’s a form of segregation and contravention of individual rights. Many believe that getting the vaccination should be a personal choice, and enforcing it is a violation of those rights. 

Whether or not you decide to get the vaccine is a personal choice, but the ramifications for this decision should be respected since this choice will have effects on other people. If you decide to remain unvaccinated, prevention of public exposure is only fair to the health of your community. However, medical exemptions will be respected. 

According to the CDC, 92% of Covid cases and hospitalizations and 91% of COVID-19 related deaths were reported among persons who weren’t fully vaccinated.

This report exemplifies the urgency of getting a high vaccination rate, especially within a county with as high of a population as L.A. Even if you choose to remain unvaccinated, complying with the health officer’s order is essential to keeping the rate of COVID-19 spread low. All the current mandates being enforced in the U.S. are for the country’s own safety. Dissent for these mandates only expresses a lack of concern for the health of Americans across the U.S. 

The purpose of this new order is to protect L.A. County and its residents. Out of concern for the virus and its perilousness, the requirement of proof of full vaccination is necessary and prioritizes the safety of our nation.