‘I’m not forcing anyone’: Los Angeles sheriff won’t enforce city’s strict vaccine mandate

Los Angeles has among strictest mask and vaccine mandates in country

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Saturday 09 October 2021 18:16
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Proof of vaccination mandate begins in Los Angeles County

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The Los Angeles County sheriff says he will not enforce the city’s strict Covid-19 vaccine mandate as he cannot afford to fire anyone.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva says his department is already down to “barebones “ amid a staffing shortage that he says he does not want to exacerbate.

“I’m not forcing anyone,” Sheriff Villanueva said in a Facebook Live.

“The issue has become so politicised, there are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off for having to get vaccinated.

“I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 or 10 per cent of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate.”

In August the county passed an order that required all county employees to be fully vaccinated by 1 October, and Los Angeles city employees have to be vaccinated by 19 October.

City records in September showed that nearly 11 per cent of its 57,4000 employees, including 3,000 from LAPD, planned to seek a religious or medical exemption.

The Sheriff, who was elected in 2018 but has become increasingly unpopular with liberals who helped him unseat an incumbent for the first time in 100 years, blamed his force’s staffing shortage on local officials.

“When a decision must be made between responding to a violent felony in progress or serving as the ‘vaccine mandate police,’ the choice is simple,” he tweeted.

“The Department will continue requiring all of our employees to register with the Fulgent system but will only seek voluntary compliance and testing for the unvaccinated.”

Earlier this week, Los Angeles City Council approved the requirement of proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, nail salons and other businesses.

The mandate takes effect in early November.

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