While nearly all COVID-19 mandates have been lifted in Los Angeles, hundreds gathered at City Hall to protest the remaining county vaccine regulations on Sunday.
The “Defeat the Mandates” rally was led by prominent figures in anti-vaccination circles such as Dr. Robert Malone, who frequently refers to himself as the “inventor of mRNA vaccines.”
“Despite some signals that COVID mandates are waning, vaccine and mask requirements persist in many schools, colleges, businesses, hospitals, and corporations across the country,” Malone said in a Substack newsletter sent out to subscribers. “It is true that cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles no longer require people to show a vaccine card to get into restaurants, bars, and gyms, but… the state legislature was busy drafting some of the most draconian vaccine mandates in the country. If these bills become law in the next few weeks, this would set a bad precedent for the rest of the nation.”
The California bills Malone was referring to were, AB1993, AB1797, AB2098, SB971, SB866, SB920, SB1464, SB1479, SB1390 and SB1184, all of which relate to COVID-19 vaccines and have been popular points of discussion among those opposing pandemic-era regulations.
Among the protesters at City Hall were members of “The People’s Convoy,” made up of truckers who have protested at similar rallies in Washington D.C., stopping on roads and stopping the flows of traffic.
There were also members of “Firefighters for Freedom” at the rally, a group of Los Angeles firefighters who oppose the vaccine mandates and their enforcement in L.A. city and county fire departments.
View this post on Instagram
In February, about 83% of county employees had complied with the vaccine verification requirement.
The L.A. County Supervisors have also sought changing the hands of enforcement, as certain departments, such as the Sheriff’s, have not fully complied and have even submitted incomplete reports of employee vaccinations.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has spearheaded the efforts to have a member of human resources enforce the mandate and removal of employees who do not adhere, and called out the Sheriff himself.
“If you will not take this matter seriously and enforce it in your department, a county director of personnel is willing to do so,” Kuehl said in February. “… months have now passed and we don’t have 100% compliance. The refusal to get vaccinated… really puts lives at risk and it is simply unacceptable.”
Villanueva then responded by saying, “It is important to remember Department personnel who chose not to vaccinate are required to submit to weekly COVID testing, and have committed no administrative offense. This is nothing more than another politically motivated stunt by the Board.”
With several public mandates lifted, L.A. County Public Health continues to “strongly encourage” that residents keep up with their booster vaccinations and risk-assess situations when masks may be beneficial.
Despite high levels of community immunity, L.A. County has been seeing a gradual increase in positive COVID-19 cases over the past week, although deaths rates and hospitalizations have not seen significant increases.
L.A. Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said she remains “hopeful” that the county will not see another COVID-19 surge at the same level as previous winter surges.
A similar rally to Sunday’s is expected to make its way to Sacramento this weekend with the “People’s Convoy” making the drive to the state capitol.