Huntington Beach City Council has voted to ban mask and COVID vaccination requirements – amid fears of a “triple pandemic” as the virus surges alongside flu and RSV.
The California city has a Republican-majority mayor and city council, who lobbied and voted in favor of the ban.
Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark introduced the bill to a large crowd on Wednesday. 116 people had registered to make a public statement.
She declared the city a “city with no mask requirement and no vaccination requirement” as the measure passed 4 to 3 votes on the party line.
However, there will be an exception to the rule for anyone who has tested positive for COVID and will be required to wear masks in certain situations.
The city council of Huntington Beach, California, voted to ban mask requirements and COVID vaccination requirements citywide amid fears the virus was starting to rise again
“The government has unnecessarily restricted the freedoms of Huntington Beach citizens — even those who were not in the vicinity of people who have tested positive for or were at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Van Der Mark.
She also said that private companies are free to do whatever they want.
“If a company wants to require people to wear masks, get vaccinated and show vaccination cards, they should be allowed to do it themselves,” Van Der Mark said, “but it shouldn’t be forced on every citizen.”
In nearby Los Angeles County, the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations has increased.
Councilman Dan Kalmick, a Democrat, said the whole idea was pointless because there was no threat of new mandates ABC7.
“There was no impetus to do that.” We haven’t received any emails. “This was purely political maneuvering to goad people to gain support because those people are losing support because of their very unpopular positions,” Kalmick said.
The council also proposed, but later tabled, an amendment that would theoretically ban LGBTQ+ pride flags – and all flags other than national, state, city and POW flags – from public buildings.
Accordingly, demonstrators placed a huge Pride flag on the steps in front of the building LA Times.
Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark (pictured) introduced the bill to a large crowd of supporters and critics
She declared the city a “city with no mask requirement and no vaccination requirement” as the measure passed 4 to 3 votes on the party line
Previously, the city council voted to end flying on city lots each June in honor of Pride month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned medics that rising rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in Florida and Georgia in recent weeks signal the start of respiratory virus season.
And the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised healthcare workers to prepare for a possible “triple pandemic” of RSV, flu and Covid-19 cases this winter.
Jill Biden tested positive for Covid for a second time on Monday, sparking multiple rounds of testing by President Joe Biden, whose result remained negative.
As a precaution, the 80-year-old president wore a face mask for the first time in months on Tuesday while conducting his White House duties.
However, he took it off during a Medal of Honor ceremony and did not put it back on – an act that expressed the weariness of Americans with Covid masks.
The 72-year-old first lady’s positive result is a reminder that the virus, which has been a background concern for months, is still affecting people’s lives as cases rise again, sending positivity rates as high as 20 in some parts of the US percent are US.
But Covid is no longer the deadly threat it once was. Although hospitalizations related to the virus have been rising for weeks, they are still about 10 times below the January 2022 peak, and deaths are about 40 times below the late 2020 peak.
At least 116 people had registered to comment publicly on the bill
Jill Biden tested positive for Covid for a second time on Monday, sparking multiple rounds of testing on President Joe Biden, whose result remained negative
Many doctors are now comparing the virus to a common cold or flu, which, while disruptive and deadly in vulnerable groups, does not cause serious illness in the vast majority of people.
The transition from a deadly virus to a manageable seasonal illness can be attributed to Americans’ high immunity to infection or vaccination, as well as an arsenal of highly effective therapies and drugs.
For these reasons, in May this year the federal government declared the pandemic over and ended the public health emergency by lifting the legal requirements for mask wearing, isolation, testing and vaccination.