Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he will not force his employees to get vaccinated after the city approved one of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the country, saying the issue of COVID-19 vaccines has become “so politicized.”
Speaking during his weekly Q&A on Facebook on Oct. 7, Villanueva said the new mandate puts him in a difficult position where he faces losing more employees at a time when the police force is already struggling with staffing issues.
“I’m not forcing anyone. The issue has become so politicized,” Villanueva said on Thursday. “There are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated, so I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 to 10 percent of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate.”
Villanueva added that he is already struggling with “barebones” staffing issues due to the “defund the police” efforts.
“This is like the worst of two worlds right here. So, we have to pick and choose.”
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department told The Epoch Times it has “no comment at this time.”
The city of Los Angeles approved the new vaccine mandate on Oct. 6, requiring anyone aged 12 or above to provide proof of vaccination to enter indoor venues such as indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, salons, indoor government facilities, shopping centers, and more.
The mandate will become effective as of Nov. 4, but does not apply to pharmacies and grocery stores.
Exceptions will also be made for individuals with valid medical exemptions and for those with a “sincerely held religious belief,” which will be reviewed by the location the person wishes to enter.
For people with religious or medical exemptions, negative COVID-19 tests within 72 hours of entry will be required, according to the ordinance.