This week the Los Angeles County Department of Health is expected to order a new vaccination mandate for what it calls, “Outdoor Mega Events.” What would be the impact of a vaccination mandate on UCLA football?
New Vaccination Proposal
The events in question under the new order, are ones with 10,000 or more in attendance. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the LA County Department of Health gave her recommendations to the LA County Board of Supervisors Wednesday. To be legitimately precise, at the moment it is a recommendation, not a mandate. But in the more than a year-and-a-half that Dr. Ferrer has been running the county’s Covid efforts, there is no record of the Board of Supervisors rejecting any of her proposals. So this proposal will be a mandate, possibly as soon as the end of this week.
The recommendation was oddly worded in that it called for, “Participants and workers,” to show proof of vaccination beginning October 7th. We reached out to Dr. Ferrer’s office for clarification on the term, “participants,” and if that was intended to include fans at the games. We did not get a return call from her office. But when it came to mask mandate issued by her office and the county, “participants” did mean attendees at the events.
The new plan calls for proof of at least one vaccination prior to October 7th. As of November 4th, proof of full vaccination will be required. Another option is to provide proof of a negative Covid test that is no more than 72 hours old. That is the standard for most counties.
This order would also impact the Dodgers, Rams, Chargers, and USC football games, as well as a host of indoor event.
In making her presentation to the county board of supervisors, Dr. Ferer said, “This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges.”
The UCLA athletic department told us they continue to monitor the events from the board of health. A spokesperson for the department said they are, “In frequent contact with the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and the City of Pasadena.” It’s unclear at this point whether the city of Pasadena or the Rose Bowl Operating Committee were consulted prior to the announcement. UPDATED AT 6:30PM: A Pasadena city official told Last Word tonight the city is reviewing LA County’s order. They anticipate looping the Rose Bowl Operating Committee into the conversation quickly.
The UCLA athletic department has reported no Covid cases among the Bruins for three consecutive weeks now. Earlier Wednesday, completely independent from any knowledge of the new county issue, head coach Chip Kelly said his team was still highly cautious. “I think we still have to be hyper-vigilant,” Kelly said. “I don’t think anybody can drop their guard in relation to this. Especially with the Delta variant.” Kelly said the team still maintains social distancing during meetings. He added that the school will need to be particularly guarded as students soon return in full capacity for the first time since March of 2020.
The City of Pasadena has its own department of health. At times last year, the city went against LA County guidelines. It issued its own directives when it came to operations for restaurants and other local businesses. It is unclear at this time if the City of Pasadena will cross swords with the county on the new mandate.
The beginning of the order will specifically impact three UCLA games at the Rose Bowl; October 23rd versus Oregon; November 13 versus Colorado; and November 27th versus Cal.
Last month, Last Word on College Football was told, off the record by an anonymous source, that the county had hoped the City of Pasadena, the Rose Bowl Operating Committee, and UCLA would be allies in helping get the vaccine mandate done.
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