California health officials said on Wednesday they would expand the requirement for vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test for those attending large indoor events as the state continues to fight growing infections due to the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.
The state had previously required either vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours to attend events of 5,000 people or more. Wednesday’s order that takes effect Sept. 20 extends that to gatherings of 1,000 or more people and requires full proof of vaccination rather than the “self-attestation” of having been vaccinated that had been authorized.
“The Delta variant has been shown to be highly transmissible, which makes it easier to spread in large crowds where people are close to each other for long periods of time,” said Dr Tomás J. Aragón, director of the Department of Health. California Public Health Officer and State Public Health Officer. in a report. “By requiring that individuals be vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 during major events, we reduce the risk of infection, hospitalization and death.”
The changes will remain in place until November 1, 2021, the department said.
Proof of vaccination may include cards issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the WHO yellow card1 after vaccination, a photo of this vaccination card or a picture of it stored on a phone or electronic device, documentation from a health care provider or a record that includes a QR code, or documentation from contracted employers who follow these guidelines and standards for immunization records.
The announcement is part of a flurry of new state and local public health orders that have come in since California eased face mask requirements and dropped most pandemic restrictions on June 15 when officials believed the virus was in sustained decline amid increasing vaccinations.
Infections have skyrocketed since the first week of July, even in well-vaccinated places like the Bay Area, although cases have been mostly among those who haven’t been vaccinated.
In San José, Mayor Sam Liccardo on Wednesday unveiled a new plan to require proof of full coronavirus vaccination for events held at city-owned facilities, including the SAP Center, home of the NHL Sharks. It would take effect immediately if approved by a majority in city council on Tuesday.
San Francisco was already scheduled to begin requiring proof of vaccination for all people 12 years of age or older eligible for injections at indoor events of 1,000 people or more, as well as patrons of bars, restaurants, clubs on Friday. and gymnasiums.
In recent weeks, the state has demanded a vaccine check or regular COVID-19 testing for state employees, teachers and school staff, and made full vaccination of workers in healthcare facilities mandatory. by September 30. California has recommended face masks in indoor public places statewide. , and required them in K-12 school buildings.
The Biden administration has placed similar demands on federal workers. On Wednesday, he unveiled plans to give a third “booster” injection to those already fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna messenger RNA injections, citing evidence of waning effectiveness over time and against the delta variant.
The state’s health department cited broad support for its expanded requirement for a vaccine against events in the entertainment and arts industry, where it is seen as a way to avoid yet another devastating lockdown to prevent the virus to spread.
Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, said in a statement that vaccination and health monitoring requirements were standard at its venues and festivals across the country, ensuring everyone can keep going. enjoy live music while encouraging more people to have their pictures taken. .
Worsening epidemics nationwide have prompted a number of prominent artists to cancel concerts – with country star Garth Brooks becoming the latest on Wednesday.
“We fully support California’s efforts and will stay in step to continue bringing live music back to the Golden State,” said Rapino.
Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG, said in a statement that “our fans, team members and families all want to feel as protected as possible from COVID-19 while enjoying our concerts and favorite sporting events “.
“Today’s announcement adds another layer of protection to make our state, our sites and our communities safer,” Beckerman said.
Julie Baker, executive director of Californians for the Arts, said “we need to do everything we can to enable safe gatherings.”