Bars, nightclubs, large events: Here are the new COVID vaccine proof requirements in L.A. County

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Los Angeles County has started requiring patrons to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter several indoor businesses and large outdoor events.

The new requirements went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, according to the new health officer order.

To enter outdoor mega events, guests will have to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, or a coronavirus negative test result.

At indoor areas of bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries and distilleries, proof of at least one vaccine dose will be required. Later, starting Nov. 4, patrons will have to show that they’re fully vaccinated before entering the indoor establishments.

Health officials said the new requirements are meant to reduce risk for coronavirus transmission in the county, and increase vaccination coverage.

“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,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a Wednesday statement. “The millions of individuals who remain unvaccinated unfortunately represent opportunities for viral transmission and mutation.”

Here’s what you need to know about the new requirements that went into effect Thursday:

Outdoor mega events

Operators of outdoor events that attract crowds of more than 10,000 people — like music festivals, parades, sporting events and concerts — must verify the full vaccination status or negative coronavirus test results for all attendees aged 12 and older.

Also, all attendees will have to wear face masks at all times — except while actively eating or drinking. 

And beginning Nov. 1, operators will have to cross-check proof of vaccination and viral test results against a photo ID for those 18 and older.

The new rule for mega events also applies to theme parks.

While Six Flags is requiring the verification on designated days, Universal Studios is asking guests to always be prepared to show their vaccine proof or test results.

In California, attendees of indoor events like concerts and sports games with more than 1,000 attendees were already required to show proof of vaccination or a negative virus test result. The county’s new order extends the safeguards to outdoor events as well.

Bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries and distilleries

The indoor venues will require patrons and employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for entry. 

Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 3, patrons must provide proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Then beginning Nov. 4, patrons will have to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for entry. Being fully vaccinated means at least 14 days have passed since getting a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine.

Those who do not provide proof of vaccination can use the outdoor areas of the business. And if they’re wearing a mask, they can enter the indoor area to use the restroom, or order, pick up or pay, official said in the health order.

A negative coronavirus test result does not qualify as an alternative to providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination, health officials said.

And masks will still be required indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

What about the newly approved L.A. City vaccine proof requirements?

The vaccine proof mandate required by the L.A. County Department of Public Health applies countywide, including in the city of L.A., which is expected to require more venues to verify vaccination status within the city beginning Nov. 4.

On Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a sweeping mandate requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter a wide variety of indoor venues in the city.

Under the ordinance, patrons aged 12 and older will have to show proof of full vaccination at restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, convention centers, card rooms, museums, malls, play areas, spas, salons and city facilities.

That means many more indoor locations will have to check vaccination status within the city, than in neighboring L.A. County areas — but that’s not currently in effect.

What’s acceptable proof of COVID-19 vaccination?

Here are some options for what you can show to prove you’re vaccinated, according to the California Department of Public Health:

  • The white Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination record card you got when you were vaccinated
  • A photocopy of the vaccine card
  • A photo of the vaccine card on a phone or any other electronic device 
  • Documentation of vaccination from a health care provider 
  • A digital record that includes a QR code that when scanned by a SMART Health Card reader displays your date of birth, vaccine dates and vaccine type
  • California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) vaccination record
  • Documentation of vaccination from contracted employers who follow these vaccination records guidelines and standards
  • The World Health Organization Yellow Card

For those who want to show a negative coronavirus test result instead, officials say the test must be taken within 72 hours before an event’s start time, and the negative result needs to be available prior to entry. 

Both PCR and antigen are acceptable, and event organizers can either accept a printed document from the test provider or an email or text message with the test result displayed on a phone.

More details on ways to verify proof of vaccination can be found on L.A. County Department of Public Health’s website.

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