SAN JOSE, Calif. - City leaders in San Jose approved a controversial vaccine mandate despite strong opposition. Tuesday’s vote was unanimous. The new rule requires all visitors and staff to show proof they’re vaccinated at events of 50 or more people at city-owned buildings including the SAP Center.
Protestors against the mandate came out in force prior to the meeting and during the meeting. City leaders in San Jose ultimately decided to approve it.
Outside San Jose City Hall, opponents of the mayor’s proposed vaccine mandate came out in droves. They took their frustration inside City Hall chambers. Most of them refused to wear masks.
Once inside the chambers, chaos unfolded as chants of a recall erupted. The mayor and city council retreated to safety as police escorted the crowd out of the building. The audience capacity was capped to a few dozen.
"I certainly appreciate and understand that people are frustrated," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "We are all frustrated. This pandemic has gone on so long."
The mayor’s mandate requires visitors and staff of events of 50 or more people must show proof of vaccination at city owned buildings like the SAP Center, the McEnery Convention Center, and the Center for Performing Arts. The mayor called it the right thing to do.
"We’ve got to follow the data," said Liccardo. "We’ve got to follow the science and make the best decisions to protect our residents."
Latest data shows in Santa Clara County, since last week, new cases are up 29%. There were 10 new deaths. The mayor said the spread of the delta variant is too risky.
More than 100 speakers spoke during public comment in person and virtually. Most are against the mandate, citing their own personal freedoms and religious beliefs.
"I do honor your authority and position but when you cross the line with people's First Amendment, you have to study the Constitution. It’s an amazing thing," said Calvary Chapel San Jose Pastor Mike McClure.
Despite the pushback and contention, in a unanimous vote, city leaders voted to move forward with the mandate.
Results of a negative COVID test won’t work, only proof of vaccination. No word yet on when the mandate will be implemented. The mayor said there will be time to work with the various venues.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.