The Los Angeles City Council will consider lifting the requirement for indoor businesses to verify customers’ COVID-19 vaccination status.
City Council President Nury Martinez on Friday introduced a motion to make vaccine verification voluntary and no longer require proof of vaccination at large outdoor events.
Martinez’ proposal came the day Los Angeles County eased masking rules and stopped requiring vaccine verification at outdoor mega events, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, night clubs and lounges.
Local jurisdictions can have rules stricter than the county’s, and L.A. currently requires people to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, concert venues, convention centers, card rooms, play areas, museums, play areas, spas, salons and indoor city facilities.
The city’s sweeping mandate, dubbed SafePassLA, was one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates when it went into effect in November and meant that L.A. businesses had to enforce stricter rules than those in surrounding county areas.
Martinez — who introduced the motion to require vaccine verification last year— at the time said it would help bring a return to normal for those who have been vaccinated.
Now, with COVID-19 case numbers declining after the omicron-fueled winter surge, authorities across the state have been loosening some COVID-19 restrictions.
It’s unclear when vaccine verification rules would be eased in L.A. if City Council approves the proposal.
Vaccination verification would still be required at indoor mega events with 1,000 or more attendees, like concerts or games, since that is still required by L.A. County.
Though L.A. County is not yet at its pre-surge levels, the region has seen infection rates drop after reaching record-highs during the winter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went from categorizing L.A. County as having “high” COVID-19 risk to have “low” risk last week, triggering the changes to COVID-19 rules.
With fewer required safety measures in place, L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said getting vaccinated and boosted will help provide more protection.
There are still 1.7 million eligible residents who haven’t yet received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 2.7 million eligible residents who haven’t been boosted.
“With fewer people becoming infected and becoming severely ill with COVID-19, and safety requirements relaxed, it is very tempting to think the pandemic is over and we can return to the way things were before March 2020,” Ferrer said in a statement last week. “And while transmission has slowed and we have powerful tools that help many avoid the worst effects of the virus, there continue to be thousands of people whose lives, families, and work are disrupted each day because they or someone close to them is newly infected, and, for some, their infection will lead to severe illness.”