San Jose Mayor Liccardo proposes COVID vaccination mandate for events with 50 or more people

Mayor Sam Liccardo (D-San Jose) announced a proposed enhancement of city policy on Thursday. His push would require proof of COVID vaccination to enter any event of 50 or more people, held in a city-owned building.

"We need to make sure we protect our own community and protect the workers at these facilities. And a vaccination mandate makes sense," said Liccardo.

The proposed city vaccination mandate comes days after San Jose ended its annual Jazz Festival. Proof of vaccination was required to attend in-door events in places owned by the city at that event.

"I think this is a positive step in the right direction. I think this is something that is needed in order to move forward as a society. Especially, move forward as a city," said Sydney Baker, a recent San Jose transplant.

This latest move would make such a condition city law. Currently, city workers, would-be visitors to city buildings, and attendees at indoor sporting events such as the San Jose Sharks NHL hockey games are required to provide proof of vaccination.

"It looks like, airing on the side of safety, this is what we’re going to have to go through, hopefully for a short period of time," said Scott Knies, Executive Director of the San Jose Downtown Association.

In a statement to KTVU, Shark's brass said they are "actively investigating options to facilitate the fulfillment of this urgency ordinance."

SEE ALSO: San Jose Unified requiring vaccination or COVID testing

The Sharks have a little wiggle room, as their regular season does not start for a few months. 

However, the first big conference, SiliCon, is slated to bring upwards of 5,000 people through the doors of the McEnery Convention Center later this month.

"The one thing I’ve learned, you’ve got to be able to touch your toes. You’ve have to stay flexible. Cause things are changing all the time," said Trip Hunter, CEO of SiliCon with Adam Savage.

The annual comic book and sci-fi event was formerly known as the Silicon Valley ComicCon, until it changed its branding in 2020.

Hunter said fewer guests, wider aisles, and mask mandates are already in place for the two-day event. He is hopeful his event will be exempt from a possible vaccination mandate due to a grace period the mayor is requesting.

"What we’re trying to do is stay in front, and make sure we can have an event people feel comfortable coming to," said Hunter. Liccardo added, "it’s been hard on a lot of folks the past year and a half. But the only way we get to the other side of this pandemic is getting vaccinated."

The mayor said high vaccination rates can be compromised without increased COVID safety measures at medium to large events.

He will make his pitch to the city council Aug. 24.