A vaccine mandate may be coming to San Jose for those who attend and staff events with 50 people or more in city facilities.
This week, Mayor Sam Liccardo proposed an urgency ordinance that would require people to show proof of vaccination before entering large events at city-owned facilities like the SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
The proposed vaccine mandate comes as the city and county grapple with escalating infection rates because of the Delta variant. As of Wednesday, there were 230 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Santa Clara County – a 40 increase in the last two weeks.
In fact, California state data shows there were 60 COVID-related ICU hospitalizations as of Wednesday – a level not seen in our local hospitals since March.
“In a time of rising infection rates, we need to look for every tool in the toolbox to protect the health and safety of our residents,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, referring to his urgency ordinance as one of those tools.
And while San Jose has the highest vaccination rate of any major U.S. city, Liccardo said in his memo, the Silicon Valley often attracts audiences from around the country, from places with far lower vaccination rates.
“We owe it to our workers and patrons at City-owned facilities to protect their health and safety, and we need to take every reasonable measure to encourage vaccination to halt the spread of the pandemic in a timely manner,” Liccardo said.
The proposed mandate will be presented Tuesday for a vote by the City Council.
If passed, it would not be implemented immediately so that operators of city-owned facilities could prepare for the new changes, like securing the necessary equipment and software needed to implement the vaccine mandate.
Liccardo said he is also considering expanding the vaccine mandate to apply to those entering indoor dining, theaters, gyms, and other privately-owned facilities that serve the general public.
But that indoor-wide policy decision would not be made at Tuesday’s meeting and would come after the city has carefully considered the vaccine mandate’s impact on San Francisco, which recently implemented a vaccine requirement for all indoor activities.
“And we’re going to look at the data…to understand how that’s working (in San Francisco) and understand what the impacts are on the small businesses,” Liccardo said at a Thursday news conference. “We really want to learn more, but certainly all the options are on the table.”
The Tuesday City Council meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. and council chambers will be open to the public. For those who wish to watch the meeting virtually, it can be accessed online at https://sanjoseca.zoom.us/j/93052835954.