LA to Mandate COVID Vaccines for City Workers: Updated

About 66 percent of L.A.’s 16 and older population are vaccinated

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With coronavirus cases again increasing at a significant rate in Los Angeles, local lawmakers will mandate vaccinations for city employees. It follows similar moves announced recently by New York City and Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

State data on Monday showed 825 people are being treated for the virus In L.A. County, which is more than double the number from two weeks ago. The state has ended the tiered system that determined business restrictions based on coronavirus rates for most of 2020 and the beginning of this year. But, L.A. and the Inland Empire would now — again — be in the highest and most restrictive tier.

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“The fourth wave is here, and the choice for Angelenos couldn’t be clearer — get vaccinated or get COVID-19,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Tuesday.

L.A. City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas said he would introduce a motion Wednesday to direct staff to develop a policy to require all city employees to be fully vaccinated, and report their vaccination status to the city. The new policy will require all departments to verify and keep track of employees’ vaccination status, and submit reports to the personnel department.

Then, Garcetti and L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez announced Tuesday that they would push for mandatory vaccines.

“In light of the recent rise in infections and hospitalizations — and, in particular, of the more contagious Delta variant — I believe that now is the time to scale up our COVID-19 precautions,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.

Ridley-Thomas added that less than 2.2 million Angelenos aged 16 years or older — representing 66.3 percent of the city’s population — have received vaccinations. In the county, 46 percent of African Americans and 55 percent of Latinos have been vaccinated.

“This not only impedes Los Angeles’ economic recovery but continues to put countless individuals at risk,” Ridley-Thomas continued. “Plain and simple — vaccinations are the only way out of this pandemic. […] If we want our economy to fully recover, if we want our children to be able to go to school without masks on, and if we want the most vulnerable members of our community to not end up in the hospital, we must all do our part and this motion is a step in the right direction.”

Separately, the city council’s Executive Employee Relations Committee is considering COVID testing requirements and a citywide vaccine mandate at a special meeting today.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.