A vaccine mandate may be coming to San Jose for those who attend and staff events with 50 or more attendees.
Mayor Sam Liccardo this week proposed an urgency ordinance that would require people to show proof of vaccination before entering any 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 attended by 50 or more people.
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.
California state data shows there were 60 COVID-related ICU hospitalizations in local hospitals as of Wednesday, a level not seen 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 Liccardo.
Liccardo warned in his memo that Silicon Valley often attracts audiences from around the country, from places with far lower vaccination rates than Santa Clara County. San Jose has the highest vaccination rate of any major U.S. city, he said.
“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 Aug. 24 for a vote by the city council. The measure would not be implemented immediately, to give operators of city-owned facilities time to take steps to prepare for the changes, such as securing the equipment and software needed to implement the vaccine mandate.
Liccardo said he also is considering expanding the vaccine mandate to apply to those entering all indoor dining, theaters, gyms, and other privately owned facilities that serve the general public. San Francisco recently implemented a vaccine requirement for all indoor activities.
“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 1:30pm and council chambers will be open to the public. The meeting can also be attended online.
Jana Kadah is a reporter with Bay City News.