UCLA football is now officially under a vaccination mandate for home games at the Rose Bowl, as ordered by the city of Pasadena. As we have been reporting for two weeks, the city was taking an examination of the order passed by LA County on September 15th. The county order did not automatically apply to UCLA. But as of Monday night, the UCLA football vaccination mandate is official.
The Final Say
The Pasadena city council approved the order as presented by the city’s health officer, Dr. Ying-Ying Goh. Per our sources within the city, Pasadena officials needed time to review the county order. They did not get a copy until late on Friday September 17th.
The Pasadena order says that all attendees age 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test that is no more than 72 hours old.
The LA County order was approved two weeks ago in a voice vote by the board of supervisors. The signed version was released two days later. City officials said they needed time for Dr. Goh, and for the city’s legal counsel to review the county order before deciding on its own course of action.
Per our reporting, the county order was written with the intended exemption of the cities of Pasadena and Long Beach because they have their own health directors. The city, of its own volition, can accept the county order as is, make its own changes. The city also has the option to ignore the order completely.
Last Word reviewed the Pasadena order shortly after its passage late Monday afternoon. It appears to mirror the county order. Part of the order pertains to proof of vaccination for local bars, restaurants, and clubs. The part that is relevant specifically to UCLA is the section for “mega events.” That is any outdoor event with at least 10,000 people in attendance. The order goes into effect on October 7th. That means this Saturday’s home game against Arizona State does not fall under the new mandate. The next event at the Rose Bowl that will is UCLA vs. Oregon on October 23rd.
Pasadena sources told us that all interested parties had been given a heads up prior to the adoption of the order Monday night. However, upon reaching out to UCLA athletics for a response immediately after the passage, the athletic department appeared unaware the order had been given approval. A spokesperson for the athletic department did send us the following via email; “We’re in frequent contact with the Los Angeles Country Department of Public Health and the City of Pasadena, and we’ll continue to follow health mandates in order to maintain a safe environment for everyone, including at the Rose Bowl.”
Nearly an hour and a half later, they sent us a copy of a press release from the Pasadena City Manager. They asked if that was what we were referring to. It is unclear if anyone had UCLA had read the actual order at that point, although we had a copy of it.
Mask Mandate Not Working
In an exclusive interview with Last Word last week, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo said he was confident the health order would get the approval needed to move forward. The county has had a mask mandate for all mega events for nearly a month. Pasadena extended that order to UCLA football games. Gordo told us he was at the UCLA-Fresno State game on September 18th. He said the lack of people in attendance wearing masks made it clear that it was far too difficult to enforce. Thus, the vaccination order became a necessity.
We asked UCLA if they would have a role in the implementation of the order at UCLA games, or if it would be left to the Rose Bowl Operating Company. The athletic department spokesman replied, “We’ll announce what the process at the Rose Bowl looks like closer to Oct 23.”
Vaccination Mandate Potential Model
UCLA played at Stanford last week, in the midst of Santa Clara County having a vaccination mandate for mega events. A few hundred UCLA fans made the trip to Palo Alto. Large scale tents were set-up immediately outside Stanford Stadium. They had medical staff providing the vaccination for anyone requesting it. They also provided rapid response Covid tests. Once completed, the attendee was given a wrist band. That got presented with their ticket at the entrance to the stadium. There were also more than a dozen separate set-ups for those already vaccinated. Fans had to show their ID and proof of vaccination. They were then given a wrist band to go with their ticket to gain entrance into the event.
UCLA was asked if that might be the model for the future home games at the Rose Bowl. The spokesperson for the athletic department said he did not see the vaccination set-up while at the Stanford game so he could not speak to specifics.
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