SJ approves proof of vaccine mandate for events with 50 or more people at city-owned facilities

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
SJ approves vaccine mandate for events at city-owned facilities
San Jose City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve a proof of vaccine mandate for events with 50 or more people at city-owned facilities.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve a proof of vaccine mandate for events with 50 or more people at city-owned facilities.

Earlier Tuesday, anti-mask protesters attempted to stop the vote by disrupting the city council meeting. Ultimately, the council had to take a recess as they tried to get the unmasked protesters out.

"We're not going to proceed until everybody is masked," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, before the meeting was briefly suspended.

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Tuesday's meeting was paused for about an hour. In the end, the city unanimously voted to approve the proposal, after 8 p.m.

Soon, anyone attending events with 50 or more people at city-owned facilities must show proof of vaccination.

"People should have freedom of choice about what they want to do with their medical decisions. And that's coercion," protester Dorota Niewczas told ABC7 News about the move.

However, the city is not requiring people to get the vaccine -- Only that they're able to provide proof whenever attending gatherings inside venues like the SAP Center, San Jose McEnery Convention Center, the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts and others.

VIDEO: Employees explore legal action against anti-mask group harassing South Bay businesses

A group of anti-maskers frequenting South Bay businesses and recording their interactions with staff have been spotted at more locations.

Protesters on Tuesday, gathered both outside and inside city hall. Those who spoke with ABC7 News shared they were shocked to see San Jose Police officers respond.

"Really, your citizens are getting fed up and that's what you see," protester Wayne Chun said. "And all of a sudden, you immediately go into all the cops coming in and that kind of thing?"

Councilmember Dev Davis said, "I think it's a lot harder to get your message across when you're yelling obscenities."

"I'm always happy to listen to people, but we should have decorum in our public discourse," Davis continued. "And yelling obscenities and refusing to follow rules is not having any kind of decorum."

RELATED: SJSU begins Fall semester with around 95% vaccination rate for students, staff

Mayor Liccardo met with reporters ahead of the vote. He addressed Tuesday's heated confrontation, saying he expected push back from the public.

"That shouldn't change our fundamental posture, which is we have to follow the data," the mayor said. "We have to follow the science and make the best decisions to protect our residents."

This, a real challenge for city leaders who maintain they're following county-wide data, showing a significant increase in COVID-19 infections over the last few weeks.

"We're all frustrated and we want to do whatever we can to get back to the feeling that we all had before this pandemic hit," he added. "But the world has changed."

Pictures posted on different social media platforms show attendees holding signs that read "my body, my choice," or "What next? Mandating Proof of Vaxx to vote?"

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Now that San Jose has unanimously voted to approve the proof of vaccination mandate, the mayor plans to give venue operators some time to adjust, before implementing the new rules.

After Tuesday's vote, Mayor Liccardo released the following statement:

"This evening, the City Council unanimously approved my proposal requiring all attendees and staff to provide proof of vaccination before entering large events in city-owned facilities. This action will reduce the risk of "super-spreader" events in our community that can dramatically increase infections and hospitalizations. Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to protecting our residents' health and safety. We must listen to the science and the data, and right now, the data clearly tells us that vaccination provides our safest path to the other side of this pandemic."