The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved one of the most stringent COVID-19 vaccination mandates in the country, requiring everyone aged 12 and over to be fully vaccinated before entering bars, gyms, restaurants or other indoor facilities.
The Council voted 11-2 in favor of the regulation, which is expected to enter into force in early November.
Negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours of entry to these sites would be required for people with religious or medical exemptions for vaccinations.
Critics have argued that a mandate would be tantamount to separating those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated. Others say it cannot be enforced.
Business trade groups have said the city mandate will create confusion because Los Angeles County’s own vaccine rules, which apply both in Los Angeles and in the surrounding communities, are less sweeping.
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However, councilors who support the regulation said it aims to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 surges. The country’s second largest city faced a huge increase in infections and hospitalizations last winter and a small increase this summer associated with the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign the ordinance. Garcetti expressed his support for a vaccine measure last week, saying, “I do not want to bury another city employee, police officer, firefighter.”
The regulation is being adopted at a time when COVID-19 cases are declining while political ambitions in Los Angeles are rising. Two council members are running for mayor, as is Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who wrote the proposal.
Of Los Angeles County’s approximately 10 million residents, nearly 80% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 69% are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.
The county reported 35 new deaths and 964 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Health officials said the county has reported an average of 14 deaths a day, though deaths and hospitalizations have fallen by about 50% since late August.
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The city’s mandate comes as other places in the United States, including San Francisco and New York City, have required people to show proof of vaccination to enter various types of businesses and venues.
Fox News has contacted both the city council and the mayor’s office for further comments.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.