Fines of up to $5,000 now in effect
By Dolores Quintana
Enforcement of the SafePass Ordinance in Los Angeles began on November 29 to establish that patrons of businesses are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, one of the most stringent of all mandates in the United States with fines up to $5,000 for those in violation.
Anyone who is of age to be fully vaccinated, 18 years of age or older, must show proof of vaccination at food and beverage establishments, gyms and fitness centers, entertainment and recreation venues, personal care establishments and indoor City facilities, like City Hall. Even outdoor events where the number of attendees is between 5,000 to 9,999 thousand people fall under the mandate, but attendees are allowed the option of providing proof of a negative COVID test result that was taken 72 hours or less before the event.
Exemptions are allowed for medical reasons or conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs, however those exemptions still require proof of a negative Covid test, at or below the 72 hour mark, to gain entry to any of these businesses. Religious exemptions require a “verbal self attestation” from each person to the business itself. Without a negative test result, people who have these exemptions can only use outdoor areas of these facilities unless they are nonresident performers, professional athletes and sports teams or those who accompany them. Patrons can briefly enter businesses to pick up or drop off food, use bathrooms and workmen are allowed to complete necessary repairs. Airports that are run by Los Angeles World Airports are the final and blanket exception to the mandate.
Businesses who don’t comply with the mandate can be given warnings and fines that rise from $1,000 for the second offense, $2,000 for the third and finally $5,000 per offense for the fourth offense and any additional incidents over that number.
If you live or are visiting the City of Los Angeles, these are the examples of the proofs of vaccination that the city mandate requires:
- A vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental agency
- A photocopy of a vaccination card or a photograph stored on a phone or electronic device.
- A personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California, or similar documentation issued by another state, local, or foreign governmental jurisdiction, or by a private company.
- A document that contains proof of a COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider.
All proof of vaccination or proof of negative testing must be matched against the ID of the person who presents them.