On the same day as the Los Angeles City Council enacted one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country, the White House Coronavirus Response Team announced a major investment in at-home tests Wednesday, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new rule that aims to prevent public housing evictions.
The video above shows clips from the council vote, as well as Wednesday’s coronavirus response team meeting.
The council voted 11-2 Wednesday afternoon to approve an ordinance that would require people to be fully vaccinated to enter indoor public spaces. These include shopping malls, restaurants, bars, gyms, sports arenas, museums, spas, nail salons, indoor city facilities and other locations. People with religious or medical exemptions would have to show proof of a negative test.
Council President Nury Martinez has said it is clear the vaccines work, but too many people remain unvaccinated despite widespread availability and door-to-door campaigns to vaccinate more people. Meanwhile, Councilman Joe Buscaino voted against the mandate.
“Making a teenager… serve as a bouncer to keep people in or out of a restaurant, and then fining the business for their failure is not the way to go about it,” he said.
As the mandate passed, the coronavirus response team announced the government is making a $1 billion investment in at-home tests.
“This means companies will be able to expand production of tests even further based on the United States government’s commitment to procure an additional 180 million rapid tests over the course of the next year, with tens of millions more tests coming to market over the course of the next 30 days,” White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said.
According to Zients, the investment puts the U.S. “on track to quadruple the amount of at-home rapid tests available for Americans by December.”
This announcement came hours after HUD said a new rule will make it more difficult for tenants of “HUD-subsidized public housing and certain properties with project-based rental assistance” to be evicted.
The temporary rule will be published in the Federal Registrar Thursday. According to the rule, the HUD Secretary can do the following:
- Expand the notice a covered landlord must give before such a tenant must vacate a unit from 14 days to 30 days
- Require landlords to provide information to the tenant regarding federal emergency rental relief along with the eviction notice
- Require landlords to provide notice to all tenants in public housing of the availability of emergency rental assistance.
“This rule is a significant step in raising tenant awareness about the availability of funds that can assist them with past due rent and allowing them additional time to access relief that may stave off eviction entirely,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a press release. “HUD will continue to review additional actions to help protect individuals through the duration of the pandemic.”
Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Council member: “Thank you, Madam President. I do have two recommendations I’d like to make. Not to the ordinance, but a suggestion I’d like the CLA to consider for the rules and regulations coming back to council in a couple of weeks. First, since malls and shopping centers have multiple entrances and I represent one of the ones with the most entrances and complications, it makes logistics of these locations more complicated, and I’d like the CLA to report back on allowing shopping malls to post signage at all entrances, stating that a vaccination is required for entry and that failure to comply may be grounds to deny entry. Second, in the interest of this being as self-enforcing is possible, I’d like to suggest that the CLA report pack on a provision that requires businesses who receive a notice to correct or an ace violation to place that notice in a prominent location at the entrance of their establishment. The Department of Public Health is already placing the names and addresses of businesses that receive COVID-related public health violations on its website, and I know that I would personally take pause when walking into a restaurant that had been warned or cited for violations. So I think this would have an impact. If patrons look at this the same way as they would a Department of Public Health letter grade or inspection score, maybe we would get a greater degree of cooperation and compliance from business owners. And Madam President I am happy to make this a motion if it’s needed. But I think it’s fairly friendly and would ask you to include this. And that being said, I encourage and I vote on on the main item.”
Nury Martinez, Los Angeles City Council President: “Thank you, Mr. Koretz. And without objection that will be incorporated into our report back. Thank you. I would accept that as a friendly. Let’s go ahead and call for the question. Let’s open the roll. Close the row and tabulate the vote.”
Clerk: “Eleven ayes, two nos.”
City Attorney: “So to be clear, so the the ordinance is passed, but not with the urgency clause, which required 12 votes.”
Nury Martinez, Los Angeles City Council President: “Thank you, Mr. City Attorney.”
Jeffrey Zients, White House COVID Response Coordinator: “Today we’re making another billion dollar investment to further mobilize testing manufacturers. This means companies will be able to expand production of tests even further based on the United States government’s commitment to procure an additional 180 million rapid tests over the course of the next year, with tens of millions more tests coming to market over the course of the next 30 days.”
“We were on track to double the supply of rapid home tests available on the market each month by early November. Authorization of the new Acon (lab) test on Monday accelerates this pace, and we are now on track to triple the number by early November. And then today’s billion dollar investment to further expand testing production puts us on track to quadruple the amount of at-home rapid tests available for Americans by December. So that means we will have available supply of 200 million rapid at-home tests per month starting in December, with supply of tens of millions of additional tests coming on the market across the next few weeks.”