L.A. Businesses Will Now Be Penalized for Not Checking Your COVID Status

Businesses in L.A. will now face stiff fines if they fail to check vaccination statuses, but charging employees with enforcement has been a problem in other cities

Beginning Monday, indoor businesses in Los Angeles will face fines and citations if they fail to comply with some of the strictest COVID vaccination mandates in the country. Although the rules went into effect on November 8, enforcement of the regulation that employees must check the vaccination status of their patrons commences today.

As KTLA reports, businesses such as restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms—as well as the operators of large outdoor events—will be given a warning the first time they’re caught failing to review the vaccination proofs of guests, followed by a fine of $1,000 for a second offense. The third strike will earn establishments a $2,000 fine, and if that doesn’t get the message across, fourth and subsequent violations will be met with a penalty of $5,000.

While California cities like L.A. and San Francisco, along with New York City, have been at the forefront in fighting the spread of COVID, putting civilian workers in charge of what is essentially law enforcement has proven problematic.

A Fisherman’s Wharf In-N-Out Burger was shuttered in October for its failure to comply, sparking an obligatory culture war followed by a second Bay Area location being closed days later.

Although In-N-Out, where Bible quotes have been printed on packaging for decades, seemed to relish the publicity that came from picking a fight over the mandates, that was not the case at Manhattan restaurant Carmine’s in September, when a hostess was savagely beaten by Texan tourists after she asked to see their proof of vaccination.

When the L.A. City Council came up with the rules in October, it rejected an amendment that would have made it a crime to harass or interfere with any employee trying to enforce those rule.

At the time of the first In-N-Out’s closure, a rep for the California Business Roundtable said that while the group encourages everyone to be vaccinated, “In this case, a part-time high school student could be on the front lines of what is a very contentious and unfortunately violent issue in the nation, without any training or increased safety.”

As L.A.’s mandate went into effect earlier this month, City Council President Nury Martinez said, “We’ve spent too much time placing restrictions on people who did their part by getting vaccinated and wearing their masks.”

At the time, Los Angeles asked Martinez via email why no plan had been put in place to ensure that professionals, perhaps members of law enforcement, be charged with enforcing the rules, and why the council had rejected an amendment that seemed designed to protect employees.

Martinez never responded.

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