As the Omicron variant is fueling another dangerous wave of coronavirus cases, the mayor of the nation’s tenth largest city wants to require employees and visitors to city-owned establishments to show proof of a shot.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced a new plan on Tuesday that requires confirmation of full vaccinations and additional boosters to allow residents or visitors to enter urban facilities such as the SAP center and as a working environment in the city.
If the rest of the city council supports his proposal next month, San Jose could be the first city in California to approve such a mandate. Other cities across the country, including New York and Boston, are considering similar verification requirements for boosters.
San Jose currently requires attendees and staff for events with 50 or more people held at city facilities such as the SAP Center, Convention Center, Montgomery Theater, San Jose Civic, and the Performing Arts Center to demonstrate complete vaccination before entering. City employees must also be fully vaccinated or exempted for religious or medical reasons.
Now Liccardo wants to go one step further and demand proof of the third injection, which experts say is one of the most effective tools to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.
“To avoid a critical level of hospitalizations and tragic outcomes, we have a great advantage – widespread access to booster vaccinations, but we do not have enough time,” – said in a statement Liccardo. “We need to take decisive action to protect our people and our community, and strengthening empowerment will help us.”
At the suggestion of the mayor, exemptions will be introduced for people who have received the second dose of vaccination in the past six months, and for children who are currently not eligible for vaccination. The City Council is expected to consider this issue in early January.
The first case of the Omicron variant in the United States was reported on December 1 in a San Francisco resident who recently returned to South Africa.
Since then, the rapidly spreading Omicron variant has become the dominant form of new coronavirus cases across the country, rising from less than 13% of sequenced cases on December 11 to over 73% within a week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday.
As of Dec. 16, Santa Clara County had confirmed 10 cases of omicron, but county officials stressed that it was likely much more common.
Of the 10 cases of Omicron in the county, four people were not vaccinated, five were vaccinated with two doses, and one was also boosted, according to County Health Officer Dr. Sarah Cody. Most of the patients had symptoms, but none required hospitalization.
Urban properties covered by this mandate include:
- SAP Center
- San Jose McEnery Convention Center
- San Jose Civic
- Center for the Performing Arts
- California theater
- Montgomery Theater
- Hammer theater
- San Jose Art Museum
- Tech Interactive
- Mexican Heritage Plaza
This is a developing story. Keep for updates.