SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose City Council unanimously approved the mayor's controversial vaccine mandate on Tuesday that requires proof of vaccination for attendees and staff at events with 50 people or more at city-owned facilities.
But the vote did not go smoothly. A tense situation had earlier unfolded at the City Council meeting after a group of anti-mask activists forced an unexpected adjournment ahead of the vote.
Dozens of protesters interrupted Tuesday's meeting and shouted out their frustrations over the mandate proposed by Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Those who oppose the mandate believe having to show proof is an infringement on their right to be unvaccinated against COVID.
Pastor Mike McClure of Calvary Chapel in San Jose, which has racked up millions in fines for defying COVID public health orders, showed up to the council meeting.
"This is America. And we have an obligation before god to stand up for our constitution," McClure said.
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?"
Demonstrators, many of whom refused to wear masks though some did, entered council chambers around 1:45 p.m. As the chants grew, Liccardo paused the meeting. That led to an hour-long standoff with the crowd of demonstrators as many of them refused to leave.
"I know people who’ve died from the vaccine. And the government should not be mandating untested drugs to the public," one woman said.
Police were called to San Jose City Hall to ensure that everyone exited the chambers. Eventually, the go-ahead was given to resume the meeting.
Liccardo took a moment to respond to criticism of his proposed mandate and said that he understands some residents are frustrated. Though he said those frustrations don't outweigh the public health risks.
After the vote, Liccardo issued a statement that read in part, "This action will reduce the risk of ‘super-spreader’ events in our community that can dramatically increase infections and hospitalizations."
Liccardo thanked city council, "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."
The mandate will impact facilities like the SAP Center, San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
KTVU's Azenith Smith contributed to this report.