The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to look into options for requiring residents to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter certain indoor spaces.
Tuesday’s unanimous vote does not mandate vaccine proof, but directs county officials to report back in two weeks on possible options for implementing such a policy.
It’s still unclear what that would look like in the county, or how it would be enforced.
The report will detail what kind of indoor spaces should require proof of vaccination, whether a mandate should require one dose or full vaccination and how people can prove their inoculation, according to the the motion.
This will help supervisors if they later decide to require that residents show proof of vaccination, said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who created the motion.
“My goal is that we can keep businesses open, and that we don’t have to resort back to what we did last year, where we limited capacity and we mandated that people had to pick up their food from the curb, or just outdoor dining,” Hahn said during the Board of Supervisors meeting.
But even if the supervisors do vote to mandate it in the future, it would only apply to unincorporated county areas. On the other hand, if L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis decides that businesses should check vaccination status, it would then apply to the whole county.
“To prevent future surges and new variants from circulating, especially as we approach fall and winter, we must consider whether additional measures are necessary, such as vaccine requirements for certain settings,” the motion reads.
The board also asked for a report back from the L.A. County Department of Public Health in 14 days on how businesses can verify vaccination status using existing digital or paper records.
County officials are considering the added safeguard as the county sees a near-doubling in the number of people hospitalized each day for COVID-19 illness, according to the health department.
There were 1,437 people with COVID-19 hospitalized throughout the county on Monday — up from 745 patients on July 26.
L.A. County public health Director Barbara Ferrer described the spike as being “of great concern.”
The city of L.A. is also considering a similar proposal.
L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell last week introduced a motion that would require vaccine proof indoors at restaurants, bars, gyms, stores, spas, movie theaters, concert venues and sporting events.
Under the city’s proposal, Angelenos would need to have at least one dose of the vaccine to be able to enter the indoor public spaces.
Some restaurants and bars have already started requiring customers to show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19, or present a negative coronavirus test if they’re unvaccinated.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she’s heard from restaurant owners who are concerned about enforcement, and others who say they would prefer a uniform, countywide policy on requiring proof of vaccination.
“Some of them are even concerned about the pushback they may get it they mandate vaccinations and the restaurant down the street doesn’t,” Barger said.
Hahn said that for now, the supervisors are only looking for the “facts” on how the policy would work in L.A. County.
“I feel like we’re at a place now that we need to look at actions to correct course,” Hahn said. “I think all of us have been extremely frustrated and disappointed at what we’re seeing as a new surge.”