California Reopens Without a Vaccine Verification Plan—So Where Does That Leave Businesses?

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

California Reopens Without a Vaccine Verification Plan—So Where Does That Leave Businesses?

Sharon Town Lee ripped off a cluster of laminated public health flyers from the front window of her pet grooming salon in Santa Monica Tuesday.

It's June 15, the day widespread mask mandates and social distancing protocols in California become concepts of the past.


Sports fans and concert goers can now scream into the air. At Disneyland, visitors can again wait in long lines and crowd around princesses as the park expands its capacity limits.

Under state protocols, vaccinated individuals are no longer required to cover their faces at gyms, in the grocery store or other indoor settings — minus a few exceptions.

And many business owners including Town Lee are letting customers inside mask-free, without checking vaccination records.

Sharon Town LeeSharon Town Lee ripped off a cluster of laminated public health flyers from the front window of her pet grooming salon in Santa Monica.Photo by Francesca Billington

"It's not our responsibility to show whether you've been vaccinated," said Town Lee, who chairs the local business district spanning Pico Boulevard and gave her employees incentives to get vaccinated.

The state's updates come as a relief. Town Lee, who is hearing impaired, can read her customers' lips again. While her small shop was largely empty in the morning, most people walking along the business district wore masks.

Private businesses can now pick between one of three state protocols: require all patrons to wear a mask, trust customers who say they've gotten the shot or establish a "vaccination verification process."

"It's a sensitive thing to ask people," said Rod Martinez, a supervisor at Literati Cafe in Los Angeles. "So we're not."

The question of enforcement remains murky — not to mention optional.

Last week, Newsom hinted at a new state-endorsed verification system to help private businesses hoping to check. SFGate reported that it'll look like a digital vaccine card designed to replace the paper ones issued by pharmacies and doctors.

How — and even if — stores and restaurants will ask customers to prove vaccination credentials is up to them, Newsom said. The governor was quick to remind viewers that his tech system isn't a so-called vaccine "passport," messaging that echoes tech startups like Healthvana.

"There's no mandates, no requirements, no passports in that respect," Newsom said during a press briefing Friday after drawing more winners for the state's cash vaccine incentive program.

Some business owners worry that requiring masks could turn off potential customers. Town Lee said that it almost feels like discriminating against people who don't want to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons.

At Ace Hardware in West L.A. store manager Brian Peacock said that three hours after opening, only one customer stepped inside without a mask.

"He walked in and said, 'I'm vaccinated!'" said Peacock. "For the most part, everybody has been wanting to wear a mask."

https://twitter.com/frosebillington
francesca@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

Read moreShow less

Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending