Travelers heading to Los Angeles to dodge the fall chill, would do well to ensure they arrive fully vaccinated.
Los Angeles City Council passed a new ordinance on October 6th requiring proof of vaccination to enter all indoor restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, bars, museums, gyms, and sporting venues. The law will come into effect in early November and applies to anyone over the age of 12 with exemptions for those who can’t be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons; these people will have to present a negative Covid test instead.
Non-vaccinated individuals can continue to patronize LA businesses, but only to pick up take-out food, utilize the bathroom (if they wear a mask), or occupy outdoor space.
The mandate, approved by Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, mirrors similar moves in San Francisco and New York. On signing the law, Garcetti stressed that he hoped that the new rules would encourage more people in the city to get vaccinated and ultimately provide a safer working environment for both workers and customers.
As of early October 2021, 78% of LA residents over 12 had received one jab of either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and 69% were fully vaccinated.
Californians can access a digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record portal where they can download electronic copies of their vaccine history. Other US and international visitors will be able to show digital or paper copies of their official vaccination records with accompanying ID to enter venues.
Alongside the LA City mandate, there is a separate health order for LA County, a much larger area incorporating the shopping nexus of Beverley Hills, beachside Santa Monica, and numerous other cities. Coming into effect on October 7th, the county ruling requires patrons of indoor bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries, and distilleries (but not restaurants or gyms) to have received at least one vaccine dose. Starting November 4th, guests of these establishments will subsequently need to be fully vaccinated.
LA County also requires attendees of outdoor events with crowds of over 10,000 people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of entry (either antigen or PCR). This rule applies to sporting events, music concerts and LA County’s two main theme parks, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Neither the county nor city health orders apply to Disneyland in Orange County which, for the time being, ‘strongly recommends’ guests be vaccinated but doesn’t mandate it.
Los Angeles’ mask mandate remains in place for all indoor public settings, private businesses, and outdoor mega events, even for those who are fully vaccinated. With the upgraded rules adding confusion to an already complicated system, it remains to be seen how tightly the new mandates are enforced but with fines of up to $5000 for violations don’t expect businesses to be lackadaisical.
In the tourist realm, the new rules make vaccination mandatory for most of LA’s trademark sights, including the Getty Museum, the Griffith Observatory, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, all of which lie within LA City limits. But, with Covid cases on the decline after a third-wave peak in late August, fall might still be a good time to visit La-la-land.
By October, crowds thin out, temperatures oscillate between 60ºF and 75ºF, and rainfall remains negligible, especially when compared to the east coast. You can avoid feeling too autumnal by chilling-out at an alfresco Street Food Cinema, rollerblading through Venice Beach, or heading to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the Day of the Dead.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories