SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Amid rising COVID-19 cases, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will propose an urgency ordinance requiring proof of vaccination for events with 50 or more people at city-owned facilities.
Under the ordinance, proof of vaccination would need to be presented among all attendees and staff. Facilities covered by the proposal include the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, Center for the Performing Arts and the SAP Center.
"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," Liccardo said in a statement. "The most effective way to return to a 'new normal' is for our entire community is to get vaccinated."
Liccardo said he is also proposing that the city evaluate San Francisco's proof of vaccination requirement for indoor dining, theaters and gyms to see if a similar proposal could be implemented in San Jose.
The mayor told KPIX 5 that he wants to see not only the impact on the infection rate, but also on small businesses.
"I could see quite possibly us going in that direction, let's understand the data first," Liccardo said. "We're going to do everything we can to protect people as we're seeing rising cases throughout the county."
"I know that will definitely be a deterrent for people going out, absolutely, and it'll definitely hurt business," said Henry's Hi-Life General Manager Dan Navarro. The restaurant, just blocks away from the SAP Center, is traditionally a stop for San Jose Sharks fans before a game.
Navarro said while a city-owned indoor mandate would hurt businesses, he's not so sure how a mandate inside only city-owned facilities will have an impact on their bottom line.
"It's definitely a concern," Navarro said. "I'm hoping that there is enough people in this area, because we're a pretty high vaccination rate, that are vaccinated and don't feel that it's an issue."
On Wednesday, Santa Clara County reported that 80.4% of eligible residents had received a full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"If showing my proof of vaccination can also allow me to enjoy my life that would be something that I would do," said Kim Hoppe, who is fully vaccinated.
But others, including Leia Grew, don't agree with the proposal. The topic brought tears to Grew's eyes. She said she feels excluded and pressured over what she said is her right to decide whether to get vaccinated.
"I do not support the mayor's decision," said Grew. "I think that it's an invasion of privacy, it goes against my right as a human. I want to protect others, protect my family, but I've already done my research and I stand my ground with where I'm at. But I wish the rest of society would understand that everybody can make their own choice."
Liccardo's proposal comes as the California Department of Public Health announced that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test would be required to attend indoor events with 1,000 people or more, such as concerts and sporting events. The new state requirement goes into effect on September 20.
Earlier this month, San Jose required all city employees to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination by August 23 or undergo weekly testing.
The urgency ordinance is expected to be considered by the City Council at their next meeting scheduled for Tuesday. A two-thirds majority is needed for passage, the mayor's office said.
If Liccardo's proposal passes, the mayor said that city-owned venues would be given time to implement the mandate before it goes into effect.
Maria Cid Medina contributed to this report.
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