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Los Angeles's sheriff said he is refusing to enforce the vaccine mandate passed by the City Council among his workforce, citing how the issue of COVID-19 vaccines has become "so politicized."
LA Sheriff Villanueva says that he will not enforce a vaccine mandate, saying employees are willing to get fired over it. "I don't want to be in a position to lose 5, 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate." pic.twitter.com/9DNJTeJUoY
— Alene Tchekmedyian (@AleneTchek) October 7, 2021
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed concern that his workforce would be depleted were he to enforce the "politicized" mandate, which passed the City Council one day earlier.
"I'm not forcing anyone," Villanueva said Thursday. "The issue has become so politicized. There are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated."
"I don't want to be in a position to lose 5%, 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate," Villanueva continued, explaining that he is already struggling with operating his department slightly understaffed due to "defund the police" efforts. "It's like the worst of two worlds right here. So, we have to pick and choose."
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council passed one of the strictest vaccine mandates across the nation by a vote of 11-2, mandating residents to provide either proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results to access bars, restaurants, nail salons, gyms, and sporting events, among other venues.
The mandate passed by the council will go into effect on Nov. 4. It is unclear whether Villanueva is vaccinated, though he has encouraged others to get the shot.
New York City started enforcing a similar mandate on Sept. 13 as part of its "Key to NYC" initiative in which customers and employees are required to show proof of vaccination to access places such as museums, bowling alleys, gyms, sporting arenas, stadiums, restaurants, and bars, among others.
Villanueva has been a vocal opponent of similar COVID-19 protocols, refusing in July to enforce the county's indoor mask mandates, which he argued weren't "backed by science" and would place a strain on his "underfunded/defunded" department.
In April, Villanueva slammed the "defund the police" movement as Los Angeles County saw murders spike nearly 200% within the past year until that point.
The county has experienced more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 6 million residents fully vaccinated against the disease, according to Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health.
The Washington Examiner contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department but did not immediately get a response back.
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Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis
Original Location: Los Angeles sheriff won't enforce 'politicized' vaccine mandate