LA County now has a vaccination mandate for outdoor “mega events.” But because it plays its games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the order and how it pertains to UCLA football is in a state of abeyance. So the UCLA Rose Bowl vax mandate is on hold for now.
There was orbicular debate in some parts of town as to whether the vaccine mandate was a recommendation or an order. It was always a mandate even when officially it wasn’t. The LA County Board of Supervisors gave tacit approval to Dr. Barbara Ferrer’s recommendation on Wednesday, according to LA County sources. The Board has never rejected a proposal from the director of the LA County Department of Health, since she has been guiding the Covid fight.
The County Mandate vs. City Allowances
Any outdoor event that has more than 10,000 people in attendance has a vaccination mandate. By October 7th, all attendees must show that they have had at least one vaccination shot, or provide proof of a negative Covid test that is no more than 72 hours old. By November 4th, they must be able to show they are fully vaccinated or have the proof of the negative Covid test.
However, Last Word confirmed on Thursday that the order may not apply to UCLA.
Last Word was told late Thursday by a representative from the county board of health that the order was written with the expectation that the City of Pasadena would make its own rules, or pass completely on the mandate. That is based on having its own department of health. Choosing not to follow the mandate means UCLA fans do not have to provide proof of vaccination starting next month to attend games.
As of Friday afternoon, sources in the Pasadena city government exclusively told Last Word that the city is still waiting to examine the final copy of the county order. From there, they will get a review from the city’s medical director, Dr. Ying-Ying Goh. The source inside the city confirmed they considered it a formal order since Wednesday, but needed the final version to determine the city’s view on participating in it.
Part of what the city will likely take into consideration is what an endorsement of the policy means for other events. It is one thing to check for vaccination status as people enter the gates for a UCLA game. But what about the ultimate mega event held in Pasadena every New Year’s? The Rose Parade draws over one million people to an area that is at least 50% open seating. Checking vaccination status is untenable. Per our source in the Pasadena city government it is possible that the city council will want to have a say in how to proceed. Its next meeting is Monday of next week. That would mean a formal decision from Pasadena would be as much as seven days away.
Who Follow What Rules
The perception has existed that the county mandates apply throughout the county, unless rejected by the two cities that have independent departments of health, Pasadena and Long Beach. Our source inside the county department of health said that is usually not the case. They said the orders are often written with the understanding that they exclude Pasadena and Long Beach from mandatory compliance. They said it then falls upon each of the two cities whether or not they follow the county’s lead, create their own version, or do nothing. But it is almost never an outright rejection of what the county is doing.
This county mandate would impact three UCLA games at the Rose Bowl; October 23rd versus Oregon; November 13 versus Colorado; and November 27th versus Cal. For now, however, the City of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl will continue to tell fans to wear masks to the UCLA games. That was part of a sweeping LA County mandate for mega events approved in mid-August. The City of Pasadena carried through with that order.
The Facemask “Mandate” Is Still In Place
There is still a county-wide facemask mandate for mega events. It is also endorsed by the City of Pasadena. But the facemask rule is rarely enforced at UCLA events at the Rose Bowl, once patrons have entered the stadium. UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond posted a tweet urging students to attend the Fresno State game Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. School is not yet in session at UCLA, so some extra motivation has been needed. Jarmond, in the tweet, posted a picture of the student section from the LSU game on September 4th. It is intended to show the engaged students during the game. But in the exuberance to reach out to The Den, UCLA used a photo that shows a student section with barely a face mask to be found in the entire crowd.
— Martin Jarmond (@MartinJarmond) September 16, 2021
Jarmond himself is more often than not in compliance with the face mask mandate at the Rose Bowl. But other senior administrators from the UCLA athletic department are not. Thus, enforcing it on the fan base is somewhat implausible. And now there will be no vaccination mandate as previously thought.
UCLA was offered a chance to respond to the order on Wednesday. An athletic department spokesman said he did not concur that it was a mandate yet. The school none the less said it would continue to consult with the county and the city and comply with all ordinances.
The order from Dr. Ferrer’s office does uniformly impact USC football at the Coliseum, as well as the Rams, Chargers, and Dodgers. It also pertains to UCLA events at Pauley Pavilion. Any UCLA fan planning on attending the UCLA-USC game at the Coliseum on November 20th will have to have proof of the completed vaccination process. Vaccination requirements are also in place for Stanford Cardinal home games. Any UCLA fans going to Palo Alto next weekend will need to show proof of vaccination.
Main Image Courtesy: Shirley McCombs-Swayne