Los Angeles on Wednesday became the third city to pass a sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate, although Staples Center — the home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers and NHL’s Kings — said Thursday that the rule will not apply to it.
The ordinance, which was passed by the Los Angeles City Council and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, will go into effect Nov. 29. Starting that day, anyone entering, among other facilities, indoor gyms will have to be fully vaccinated, meaning 14 days past their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Vaccinating more Angelenos is our only way out of this pandemic, and we must do everything in our power to keep pushing those numbers up,” Garcetti said in a statement. “These new rules will encourage more people to get the shot, and make businesses safer for workers and customers — so that we can save more lives, better protect the vulnerable, and make our communities even safer as we fight this pandemic.”
New York City and San Francisco previously announced similar mandates.
Staples Center said the Los Angeles ordinance does not apply to it or Microsoft Theater, “who are already subject to an existing LACDPH order addressing this subject matter.”
“STAPLES Center and Microsoft Theater will continue to follow the protocols established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) which requires guests to show proof of being fully vaccinated or providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to event date in addition to wearing approved face coverings when not actively eating or drinking,” it said in a statement.
In the Los Angeles mandate, there is an exemption for “non-resident performers” — just as there is in both the New York City and San Francisco versions. That means it will not apply to visiting NBA players.
Both the Lakers and Clippers said last month that their teams are, or are in the process of being, fully vaccinated. The NHL’s Kings also said they are fully vaccinated as a team.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in his preseason media session that the team will be fully vaccinated by opening night later this month.
“On opening night, when we play the Golden State Warriors, all of the players that are currently signed on our roster, on that night, will be deemed fully vaccinated,” Pelinka, who is also the team’s president of basketball operations, said last Thursday. “We’re really grateful for that.”
Lakers star Anthony Davis said later on media day that he believed the team already was fully vaccinated.
And although Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank declined to talk about their team’s vaccination status previously, coach Tyronn Lue said during the team’s training camp in San Diego last week that his team was fully vaccinated.
“Our guys are vaccinated, so we just have to do whatever the league tells us to do; we try to abide by the rules and kind of go from there,” Lue said last week. “And we talked about it last year, just being able to adapt and do what we need to do to play the game that we love. And so, certain players, certain people have different beliefs, so I respect those beliefs. And our guys are fully vaccinated, so I respect their beliefs as well.”
San Francisco, like Los Angeles, has a requirement that people be fully vaccinated to enter buildings like Chase Center, home of the Warriors. New York, on the other hand, requires proof of only one shot of a vaccine to gain entrance to, among other places, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, the homes of the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, respectively.
Over the weekend, Golden State forward Andrew Wiggins got vaccinated, allowing him to play in home games in San Francisco when the regular season begins later this month.
“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said after the Warriors’ preseason opener at the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, his first public comments since getting the shot. “It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.”
Nets star Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, continues to sit out activities in New York because he has yet to receive a shot. The rest of the Nets, as well as the entire rosters for the Knicks and Warriors, are in compliance with the local mandates.
“I know that I’ll be there every day no matter what and just be present for my teammates as one of the leaders on the team and be there for my growing tribe off the court,” Irving said during a virtual media session last week during Brooklyn’s media day because he was unable to attend in person at Barclays Center due to the mandate. “I know the focus has to be at an all-time high, no distractions. This is the last thing I wanted to create, was more distractions and more hoopla and more drama around this. I’m doing my best to maintain this with good intentions and a good heart.”
ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Dave McMenamin, Ohm Youngmisuk and Greg Wyshynski contributed to this report.