Majority of L.A. County bars, clubs visited were complying with COVID vaccine proof mandate: Health officials

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Bennett Erickson, left, general manager at Sunset Beer in Echo Park, checks for proof of vaccination with customers Caitlin Forst, right, and Anthony Trapanese on Aug. 10.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Bennett Erickson, left, general manager at Sunset Beer in Echo Park, checks for proof of vaccination with customers Caitlin Forst, right, and Anthony Trapanese on Aug. 10.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County health officials on Tuesday noted “high compliance” with the new vaccine verification rules at bars, nightclubs and lounges throughout the county.

Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5, inspectors found that 93% of bars, 94% of nightclubs and 100% of lounges visited were in compliance with requirements to check customers’ vaccination status, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The inspectors found that the majority of businesses were in compliance with safety requirements overall.

About 68% of garment manufacturers, 67% of office sites, 80% of nightclubs, 82% of lounges, and 85% of bars were in compliance with employee masking requirements, according to the health department.

“I am grateful the majority of businesses are protecting their employees and customers by following masking and vaccination verification requirements,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “These high rates of compliance are a testament to collaborations among business operators, employees and customers to follow common sense safety precautions.”

Last week, bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries and distilleries in L.A. County became required to ask customers for proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter their indoor areas.

Before that, patrons were required to have had at least one vaccine dose to get into indoor areas of the venues. That requirement went into effect last month.

Now, the venues have to make sure that customers aged 12 and older have taken at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson at least 14 days before trying to enter the venue, according to the new health officer order.

Customers who don’t show that they are vaccinated can be directed to use the outdoor areas of the business, if available. And if they’re wearing a mask, they can enter the indoor area to use the restroom, or order, pick up or pay.

Otherwise, the unvaccinated patrons will have to be turned away.

L.A. County officials said health inspectors will be visiting bars, clubs and other venues, and if a business is found not to be verifying vaccination status of all patrons, the violation will be documented and the business will receive a compliance date.

If they’re still not complying after that, they may be issued a $500 citation, according to the health department.

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