Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva recently went on Facebook Live to share with the public his intentions to not enforce the Los Angeles vaccine mandate. He said he would not force officers and healthcare workers to choose between getting a vaccine or losing their job, adding that the issue has become “too politicized” for him to trim the department over the mandate.
The most recent ordinance approved by the Los Angeles City Council will go into effect beginning Nov. 4 and be implemented in the U.S bars, gyms, entertainment venues, and shopping centers. Pharmacies and grocery stores are exempt from the mandate.
“There are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than getting vaccinated, so I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 percent, 10 percent of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate while the same time we are barebones with the defunding effort, so this is like the worst of two worlds,” Villanueva explained.
Villanueva did not share the department requirements for COVID-19 and whether employees would have to submit a weekly negative coronavirus test. He went on to say that the mandate was not backed by science and even contradicts the U.S Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines.
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Some workplaces have been insisting on the tests weekly while others have forced it on their employees daily. Other workplace environments have even created a separate set of rules for those who choose to opt-out of the vaccine. Employees have accused the mandates of creating “two classes of society” and a more divisive work environment.
Businesses have also complained of the financial fines tied to the mandate. A business that violates an order will be fined $1,000 for a second offense, $2,000 for a third offense, and $5,000 for a fourth. They did not determine which department or agency would enforce the order, but notes that the Department of Building and Safety was the most relevant.
Villanueva suggested that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has the authority to enforce the mandate, but that his “underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department” will not expend its limited resources. He said he will expect officers to ask for voluntary compliance and that the DPH should work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish science-based mandates.
Villanueva notes that it is a lot to ask after the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve a $150 million cut to the LAPD’s budget for the next fiscal year. This is following the Black Lives Matter movement and activists calling to ‘defund the police.’ The City Council then voted to boost police funding by $36 million after an upswing in crime.
Law enforcement officials shared that they do not feel the support or have community tools to properly do their jobs. They said politicians have been getting in the way of communities that need safety and protection the most. More sheriffs like Alex are speaking up and against the government officials demanding proof of vaccination. Did you have to show proof of a flu shot to keep your job or go to the gym?
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