LA County Implements New Vaccination Verification GuidanceSep 21, 2021
On September 17, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued new COVID-19 vaccine verification and testing guidance for food and drink facilities. Beginning October 7, 2021, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges will be required to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of patrons and employees for indoor service. Other restaurants are encouraged to similarly reserve indoor services for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Verifying Proof of Vaccination
For the purposes of this order, individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received either the second dose in a 2-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen). Los Angeles County has issued guidelines for how businesses may verify individuals’ vaccination and testing statuses:
Requirements for Bars, Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries, Nightclubs, and Lounges
The Health Department’s new vaccination verification requirements apply to the following facilities:
- Bars, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries, defined as:
- Bars that have a low-risk food facility public health permit, and
- Breweries, wineries, and distilleries with a #1, #2, #4, #23, and/or #74 state alcohol license that do not possess or that are not required to have a public health permit to operate.
- Nightclubs and Lounges that are open only to persons 18 years of age or older, defined as:
- Nightclub means a commercial establishment dispensing beverages for consumption on the premises and in which dancing is permitted or entertainment is provided, and/or has as its primary source of revenue (a) the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, (b) cover charges, or (c) both.
- A lounge is defined as a business that operates primarily for the preparation, sale, and service of beer, wine, or spirits.
Effective October 7, 2021:
- Bars, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries must require patrons who are 12 years of age or older to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status for entry.
- Nightclubs and Lounges must require patrons and on-site personnel to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status for entry.
Between October 7, 2021 and November 3, 2021:
- All patrons of Bars, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries and Nightclubs and Lounges must provide proof they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into the facility to obtain indoor service.
Beginning November 4, 2021:
- Bars, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries must require patrons who are 12 years of age or older to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for entry into the facility to obtain indoor service.
- Nightclubs and Lounges must require patrons to provide proof of full vaccination for entry into the facility to obtain indoor service.
- All onsite employees of bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges must provide their employer with proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
Eligible on-site employees may be exempt from the above vaccination requirements for qualifying religious and medical reasons. Exempted employees must be tested for COVID-19 at least once per week and wear either a surgical mask or higher-level respirator at all times while in the facility. Click here and navigate to page 10 for more details on employee vaccination exemptions.
Individuals—not including on-site employees—who do not provide the required proof of vaccination may be served in and/or use the outdoor portions of the facility. These individuals may not remain inside the facility unless they wear a well-fitted maskand are entering the facility for one of the following reasons:
- As part of their employment to make a delivery or pick-up, provide a service or repair to the facility, or for an emergency or regulatory purpose.
- To get to the outdoor portion of the facility or to use the restroom.
- To order, pick-up, or pay for food or drink “to go.”
Recommendations for Restaurants
Under this order, restaurants are defined as indoor venues that serve food or drink indoors and are required to maintain a valid public health permit to operate. The County Health Officer strongly recommends, but does not require, that restaurants reserve and prioritize indoor seating and service for fully vaccinated patrons. These restaurants are encouraged to verify the full vaccination status of all patrons 12 years of age or older who are seated indoors for food or beverage service, and to serve patrons who cannot provide proof of full vaccination in outdoor portions of the facility.
Resources for California Employers
Employers that wish to implement vaccine verification and other COVID-19 prevention-related requirements for their workers, contractors, or other visitors should consult with counsel to develop a clear, written strategy, and, as always, be prepared to adjust to further regulations from local, state, and federal entities. Businesses within the City of Los Angeles should also stay tuned for a potential vaccine verification mandate for indoor restaurants and fitness facilities.
If you have questions regarding the application of any of the updated COVID-19 prevention recommendations and mandates to your business, please contact one of the following attorneys in The Maloney Firm’s Employment Law Department: Patrick Maloney, Lisa Von Eschen, Samantha Botros, or Nicholas Grether.