Santa Clara County health officials say vaccine mandate for customers will not be implemented

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — In the South Bay, public health officers say they will not implement a vaccine mandate for customers at businesses but highly urge businesses like bars and restaurants – where masks come off indoors – to require proof of vaccination.

As Bay Area counties update health orders like requiring proof of vaccination for indoor public settings due to the omicron surge, Santa Clara County health officials say mandating proof of vaccine for customers would have little impact.

At a press conference two weeks ago Santa Clara County Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody added Santa Clara county has high vaccination rates.

A statement from the county reads:

County efforts are strategically focused on vaccination and boosting as well as making testing as widely available as supplies allow. This is critically important. COVID-19 continues to present unique challenges as we work to balance the public’s overall health, while striving to allow businesses to operate without additional undue stress for workers. Mandating a proof of vaccine for customers, with many businesses still recovering from the financial burdens of the initial COVID surge, would have limited impact and impose additional costs in a county where more than 87% of the eligible public is vaccinated. Public Health continues to urge businesses with activities that require patrons to remove their face mask (e.g., restaurants and bars) to require proof of vaccination prior to entry, but leaves the final decision to their discretion.

As throughout the pandemic, the County will continue to monitor COVID-19 and will respond accordingly. This is why a new health order was issued last week that builds on recent changes in the State Health Officer’s vaccination requirements by mandating up-to-date vaccination by workers in certain healthcare and congregate settings, further protecting our most vulnerable populations. 

On Tuesday, Cody told the county board of supervisors it experienced issues with staffing since the omicron surge and is focusing on the updated mandate that requires boosters for health care workers, long-term care, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

“Booster mandate is to ensure both safety of vulnerable people in hospitals or congregate settings as well as to ensure that the staff caring for them are less likely to get ill,” Cody said.

San Jose is now the first city in the U.S. to require a booster shot for city workers and city-owned properties.

That includes the SAP Center

City leaders say this mandate is going to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

In the meantime, doctors say the best way to avoid getting infected is to wear a good mask and being careful about indoor gatherings.

Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of UCSF hospital, is monitoring the omicron surge in other parts of the country.

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