Small Business Owners in L.A. Fear L.A.’s New Vaccination Mandate

The COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate has officially hit L.A. county, and for small business owners its potentially more harmful than helpful.  

The L.A. City Council passed an ordinance, enacted on November 8 at midnight, to enforce verification of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus or a negative COVID test taken within 72-hours for indoor dining at local restaurants. Small business owners in  neighborhoods with low vaccination numbers fear there’s a financial hit underway, along with a lot of public push back. 

As of last week 80 percent of L.A. County residents are vaccinated but areas that make up majority minorities communities still lag, with 50% percent of Black residents under the age of 49, and 60% of young Latino residents in the same age demographic being  unvaccinated. This will prove to be a huge concern for small business in areas like Carson, Compton or Baldwin Hills, where young Black and Latino residents make up the customer base.  

Turning customers away doesn’t just mean a dip in sales, but it could potentially be a safety concern. There was an incident in a Woodland Hills restaurant last month that resulted in an altercation after a hostess asked a raging customer to wear a mask in the  establishment. A patron recorded the argument that escalated into a fight between customers after the mask-less customer yelled at the employee.  

The threat of violence for small businesses looms over popular places like Dulan’s Soul Food in Los Angeles. The owner speaks about concerns of not having the extra security to deter the threat of unruly customers and to ask for the vaccination card has the potential to turn customers away altogether.  

The L.A. City Council hasn’t really ironed out a plan of support for small businesses in regard to allocating monetary support for the brick-and-mortars, nor has there been much promotional efforts put in place to remind customers of the new update. 

The ordinance started with bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries and distilleries last week and will be extended to, shopping malls, movie theaters, beauty salons and other indoor activities, starting Nov. 29. City Council has given establishments time to adjust, but will begin to hand out citations starting at $1,000, going up to $5,000 for subsequent offenses.  

L.A. County health department has approved the following acceptable forms of vaccine proof : 

• The white CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card. 

• The yellow World Health Organization vaccine card. 

• Documentation of vaccination from a health care provider. 

• A California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) vaccination record. 

• A digital vaccination record issued by California Department of Public Health. 

• A digital vaccination record from an approved company like Healthvana, Carbon Health, CommonPass, CLEAR Health Pass or  VaxYes. 

Some restaurants are requiring a photo ID to support the acceptable forms of proof. There are religious exemptions to this rule, but a negative COVID-19 test within the 72 hour window frame is require to eat indoors.

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