UPDATED: One week after downtown Los Angeles gay bars implemented the policy, The Abbey in West Hollywood joined the growing list of nightlife spots requiring COVID-19 vaccination cards for entry.
Going out for some queer nightlife this week? Be prepared that security at bars and clubs might require more than an ID card for entry.
Some of Los Angeles County’s most popular gay bars have announced that people will not be permitted inside unless they can prove they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Downtown Los Angeles’ Precinct, Redline, and The New Jalisco Bar and Silverlake’s Akbar recently shared the new policies on their social media pages.
All three bars accept California’s digital vaccination card, photos of the white card, or the original card. Patrons will still be required to follow the county’s indoor mask mandate that returned July 17.
“We will be requiring proof of vaccination upon entry,” Redline posted on their Instagram page. “The safety of our patrons and staff is always our #1 priority. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”
These bars join a growing list of L.A.-area places barring unvaccinated people entry, as reported by L.A. TACO’s Lexis-Oliver Ray.
COVID-19 cases rising
This requirement comes as the Los Angeles Department of Public Health reported Wednesday a “20-fold increase” in new cases since June 21. A month ago, 124 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, but today, the number was more than 2,767.
Approximately 65% of new cases are among people between the ages of 18 and 49 years old.
Also, 645 people are hospitalized, and approximately 23% of them are in the ICU. On June 21, 213 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to county data.
Los Angeles County has a population of approximately 10.5 million people, but only 2,500 ICU beds.
Indoor masking returned to Los Angeles County July 17.
‘I’m trying to protect people’
Promoter Mario Diaz is one of the people leading the charge for the vaccination card. Diaz, who’s vaccinated, said he will require proof of vaccination at all his events, including his Sunday party Hot Dog at El Cid in Hollywood.
“At the end of the day, I’m trying to protect people,” Diaz said. “I don’t think it will hurt my business in any way. I want my tribe to feel a little bit more comfortable so they can get together.”
On its Instagram page Wednesday, Precinct wrote in a post that “We all need to work together to keep ourselves and each other safe while having fun and being social. Please note, this policy is enforced for EVERYONE, customers, staff and talent.”
Businesses can legally ask for vaccination proof — which people can decline to provide — and limit entry based on that response, Georgetown University law professor Lawrence Gostin told USA TODAY.
“Non-health care businesses are not subject to HIPAA,” he said. When a business asks an employee or customer for their vaccination status, that “individual then has a choice whether to provide proof of vaccination. If the person does not, then [the person] can be excluded from entering the premises.”
Need your digital vaccination record? Visit My Vaccine Record to view and screenshot it.
Vaccination appointments are also available at MyTurn or by calling the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.
Phillip Zonkel contributed to this story.