A UCLA football vaccination mandate looks to be probable for games at the Rose Bowl. The upcoming schedule is expected to be under a vaccination mandate by the City of Pasadena as early as next week, according to Pasadena city officials.
In an exclusive one-on-one with Last Word on Monday, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo said he considers the order from the city to be, “Likely.”
County Guidelines And Pasadena Follow Through
The LA County Department of Health submitted its recommendation for vaccination policy for “mega events,” or events with more than 10,000 people in attendance. Although there was confusion on the part of UCLA and others, the submission was passed Wednesday with a voice vote by the LA County Board of Supervisors. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director for the department of health, submitted the finalized copy on Friday afternoon.
But as we reported Friday, the order does not automatically apply to the cities of Pasadena or Long Beach. Both of those cities have their own, independent departments of health. They are free to adopt the county policy as is, make changes for their own community, or ignore the policy outright.
A source inside the City of Pasadena offices told us the county board of health did not pass along the final version of the order until Friday. That means the city’s director of health, Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, will review it this week, as will the city’s legal counsel. Their final version will be submitted to the Pasadena City Council next Monday. It is expected to pass.
Exclusive With The Mayor
Mayor Gordo told us, “Rightfully, as a society, we’re going in that direction. The county has already, at mega events such as the UCLA games, adopted that policy,” he said. “And I think people can anticipate that Pasadena will do the same.” He said upon hearing from the health director he expects Pasadena will, “Likely head in the direction of the county.”
The mayor was speaking at an event at Gael’s restaurant in Pasadena, promoting a policy whereas some restaurants in the city are requiring proof of vaccination to dine there. He was encouraging other businesses and hotels to do the same. It is there that we caught up with him for our exclusive interview.
He said he was at the UCLA game last Saturday against Fresno State. While he and his family were masked, in compliance with current county and Pasadena mandates for mega events, he acknowledged there were many that were not. “It’s important for people to know those around them are staying safe and working to keep everyone safe as well,” the mayor said.
Vaccination Easier To Enforce Than Masks
He was also aware of photos of the crowds at UCLA games where many, including the student body, are not compliant with the mask mandates. He said that is another reason to move forward with the vaccination order. “It is easier to enforce,” Mayor Gordo said. City officials have told us there is just not enough manpower with security at the stadium to enforce people keeping their masks up during the game.
While admitting that fans for UCLA games come from all over Southern California, the mayor said the people of Pasadena are, “voting with their actions and their bodies.” He quoted a rate of 94% within the city that have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 86% that are fully vaccinated. “They are saying we think this is a good idea.” He added, “We are fortunate that we have our own health department and can be nimble and make our own decisions.” In supporting Pasadena’s adopting a vaccination policy for the mega events, he said, “I think it’s a good thing to do. I think it’s the right thing to do. And I think it’s going to go a long way towards allowing visitors and residents to feel safer as they are in our great city.”
The Impacted Schedule
Mayor Gordo said part of the reason to push forward as soon as possible is to give due notice to visiting teams and their fans time to adjust to the UCLA Football vaccination mandate. The county policy mandates proof of at least one vaccination shot no later than October 7th. Proof of complete vaccination must be provided beginning November 4th. The games impacted by the policy would be October 23rd against Oregon, November 13th against Colorado, and November 27th against Cal.
An alternative for fans, per the county policy, would be to show a negative Covid test that is no more than 72 hours old. That could be changed by the city of Pasadena. But the city’s department of health is just starting its review of the county policy. “We should give advance notice to all teams and their fan base. I think it is the right thing to do. It is the fair thing to do. And most importantly if we expect compliance, it’s the only way to achieve that. To give people fair and advanced notice that we intend to head in that direction.”
The city also hosts two of the most mega of mega events. The Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day and the Rose Parade. A vaccination requirement like the UCLA Football vaccination mandate for the game is as viable as any other event there. But for the parade, there are more than a million people who camp out on the sidewalks in advance of the event. Proof of vaccination seems implausible for that crowd. The mayor said time is on the city’s side with making a determination for those events. “I do anticipate next week we will adopt the countywide mandate. My hope is that we will not need mandates and hopefully we are in a good position for New Years Day, but we have to do the work to get to that point.”