By Michael Yu, Oct. 26, 2021

On Oct. 7, Los Angeles County put new COVID-19 guidelines into effect that will require patrons and employees of indoors and certain outdoor locations to show their vaccination card to enter. This mandate was passed with the purpose of making business safer and encouraging people to get the shot.

The mandate states that before entering establishments such as bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries and distilleries, both customers and employees over 12 years of age will need to show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine. Members of the Cal Poly Pomona community shared their thoughts on the new mandate and the steady number of new cases.

According to the LA County Department of Public Health, there have been 1,227 new cases of COVID-19, 15 deaths and 598 hospitalizations in LA County as of Oct. 22. In addition, the seven-day average number of cases is 1,048 as of Oct. 22, with an 8% decrease in the number over the last 14 days according to the New York Times.

There are also 78% of county residents 12 years old or older that have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while at least 92% of residents older than 65 have received one dose.

Associate Vice President of Student Health and Wellbeing and lead for the Safer Return Incident Investigation Team Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez shared the significance of the number of cases and vaccinations.

“The number of COVID cases shows that while there is improvement from the early surges, there is also room for us to grow. The more people that get vaccinated, the more we will see those numbers moving in the right direction,” said Lopez. “This new mandate will help us stop the spread sooner.”

Driven by the recent surge of cases caused by the new Delta variant, the new policy has been expanded and will be in full effect starting on Nov.4, where proof of both doses of the vaccine will be required to enter public spaces.

The mandate also extends to large outdoor events of 10,000 people or more such as sports arenas or theme parks. However, for outdoor events a negative COVID-19 test is accepted as well as the vaccination card.

The county defines proof of vaccination as a card issued by the CDC, a photo of the card, a document from a health care provider or a digital record of vaccination either from California or from another state or country.

With the new mandate focusing on protecting public venues, many places have had to adjust to the new policies. Sebastian Felix, a music industry major at CPP and stagehand at the Bar Lubitsch music venue in Hollywood shared that the venue requires vaccination cards to be shown at the entrance or patrons will be denied entrance.

“When tour acts come by, we do not want to put anyone in danger of the virus,” said Felix. “They put a lot of time and effort into creating these tours or shows, and if one person gets sick it can lead to a domino effect where everyone goes down.”

Businesses that do not follow the new mandate’s rules will face escalating fines. The first violation will lead to a warning, while the second will lead to a $1,000 fine, $2,000 for the third violation and $5,000 for the fourth violation.

With these new restrictions came debate about its necessity. Some argue the restrictions were unnecessary for already vaccinated people, with some writing to the county and calling it unconstitutional.  

However, others argued it was necessary to help stop the spread of the virus. Johnathan Ng, a manufacturing engineering student, shared his thoughts on the new mandate.

“As annoying it can be for us citizens who are already vaccinated to still deal with the restrictions, I do think it is a good idea,” said Ng. “It will allow us to have better control over the spread and hopefully eventually stop the spread of the virus.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the county has pushed the mandate in order to motivate people to get the vaccine.

“We’re still not at 100% vaccination in the county, and people are still dying,” said Lopez. “With the county’s movement to requiring vaccination cards, they are trying to show the public how important it is to get vaccinated.”

Feature image courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski

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