Is Bay Area Next for COVID Vaccine Rules for Indoor Businesses?

Will strict vaccine rules help bring an end to the pandemic that has disproportionately ravaged communities of color — or further entrench and widen those longstanding disparities? Answering that question is an increasingly urgent task for elected leaders and public health officials:

Starting today, customers at many indoor businesses in Los Angeles must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter, including restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters and beauty salons.  Business owners in the state’s largest city say the mandate — which the city plans to start enforcing on Nov. 29 and could result in fines of as much as $5,000 — could be devastating for small businesses in communities with low vaccination rates, which tend to have more Black and Latino residents.

In August, the San José City Council passed an uncodified urgency ordinance of the City of San José to require COVID-19 vaccination for large indoor events at city-owned facilities and setting forth the facts constituting such urgency.

Then, as of Sept. 20, operators or hosts of large indoor events at city-owned facilities with 50 or more guests shall require all attendees age 12 and older and all staff to show proof of full vaccination before entering the facility. Certain exemptions to this exist as described in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.

Kim Prince, owner of Hotville restaurant in Los Angeles’ Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw mall: “Give it another 12 months of this type of regulations, and I promise by 2024 there will be more closed restaurants in neighborhoods of color than any other neighborhood.”

The problem is particularly acute when it comes to public education.

Some school districts, including Los Angeles Unified and Oakland Unified, have announced strict vaccine mandates that will require students to get the shot in order to attend in-person classes. But some experts and advocates say the rule — intended to prevent spread of COVID-19 on campus — could also effectively block many Black students from attending school. For example, in Alameda County, where Oakland Unified is located, only 44% of Black kids aged 12 to 17 are vaccinated, compared to 95% of Asians, 70% of whites and 67% of Latinos in the same age group, a Mercury News analysis found.

Dr. Tyrone Howard, a UCLA education professor and director of the Black Male Institute: “It signifies to me elimination, it signifies to me exclusion. … We want Black students to have the same opportunities other students have — extracurricular experiences, access to teachers during lunch and the day.”

Providing equitable education amid the pandemic continues to be a challenge for California. A federal judge on Thursday ordered the state to provide high-quality distance learning for students with disabilities who have chosen not to return to campus, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond apologized for delays in distributing federal relief funds to private schools serving low-income families.

In other COVID news, a federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. And California’s coronavirus transmission rates have risen above those in Texas and Florida, a point of concern for public health experts who note that Californians’ demand for booster shots is also lower than expected, especially among vulnerable populations. In San Francisco, for example, only 1 in 5 eligible seniors has received a booster.



  1. Arbitrary vaccine mandates in an area with such low transmission is going to do nothing. If anything, mandate exercise and vegetables for the demographics that were hit the hardest. Racism doesn’t cause obesity, diabetes (in most cases) and hyper-tension, personal choices do. So, if the latino community focused on addressing the root causes, instead of scapegoating – then you’re making an actual difference. Expecting everyone else’s kids to get vaccinated to protect you, even when vaccinated/unvaccinated have the same viral loads and breakthrough cases occur a lot, is not a good plan. More people will just leave this area.

  2. Just ‘Stick a Fork in it’ – and completely kill small businesses and restaurants already on the verge of collapse from over-bearing government mandates.

    CA Politicians/ Governor “…has unilaterally determined whether people are allowed to make a living or not.”

    “In CA, nearly 40,000 small businesses had CLOSED by September 2020, according to Yelp data analyzed by the New York Times.”

    “The businesses hit hardest by state & county stay at home orders … had small cash reserves – typical of small businesses, according to the LA Economic Development Corp.

    The impact in LA County was particularly pronounced, where, according to 2019 Census data,
    88% of businesses had fewer than 20 employees – places such as restaurants, bars and hair salons. “

  3. “Will strict vaccine rules help bring an end to the pandemic that has disproportionately ravaged communities of color”

    No. We’ve seen that already. To end disproportionately ravaged communities of color requires removal from office all of our county health directors and our governor who directed this ravaging of all communities. Or we can just ignore it and watch the further destruction.

  4. Pandemic-fueled Control Freaks aren’t yet done messing with us in the name of public health.

    “2 Weeks to Flatten the Curve” to “Vaccinated Only” – The New Normal…

    Is CA’s ‘Brandon’ Gavin Newsom, or City & County Bureaucrats?

    Lets Go Gavin!

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