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Sac Metro Chamber Pres & CEO Amanda Blackwood on the Vaccine Mandate

Amanda Blackwood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Listen: Amanda Blackwood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.

As our dedicated community leaders explore ways to protect each other, keep the economy open, and work to avoid another full or partial shutdown, today the Sacramento Metro Chamber -- along with a number of other chambers and business organizations -- has presented the attached letter to Mayor Darrell Steinberg recommending that the City of Sacramento doesnotadopt a potential/conceptual Emergency Ordinance for a COVID-19 vaccination mandate in places of business. 

As the leading voice of business in the Greater Sacramento region, the Sacramento Metro Chamber has helped to facilitate numerous feedback sessions on this topic in order to hear various perspectives on potential impacts of a possible vaccination mandate in the City of Sacramento and remains committed to working closely with the Mayor.

Amanda Blackwood, President & CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.

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The Sacramento Metro Chamber (along with a number of other chambers and business organizations) sent a letter to Mayor Steinberg outlining your recommendation on a possible/conceptual vaccination mandate for inside places of business in Sacramento.

August 20, 2021

RE: COVID-19 Potential mandated vaccination ordinance Mayor Steinberg,

Thank you for taking the time to listen to representatives of the business community related to a potential City of Sacramento COVID-19 vaccination mandate in places of business. The resurgence of new COVID-19 cases creates a moment for us all to consider what we can do to protect each other and keep our economy open now and into the future. One of the options to consider was the creation of a City of Sacramento emergency ordinance requiring proof of vaccination to enter certain businesses as we saw the County/City of San Francisco adopt last week. Over the last eight days, we have held several feedback sessions to hear different perspectives on the potential effect of this conceptual ordinance. These feedback sessions included business groups, employees, boards, business owners, and other critical stakeholders in combination with County of Sacramento Health Officials. It is critical to state that there are very differing feelings on this matter often in relation to business size, industry, location, and other pertinent factors. It is clear there is no one-size-fits-all answer and there are very compelling arguments all around. With that said these general themes have emerged:

• Another full or partial economic shutdown must be avoided, and appropriate actions should be taken to mitigate that potential. • Encouraging/facilitating vaccination is paramount to our economic recovery and something that the business community firmly stands behind. •

Those communities with low vaccination rates are experiencing increased health and economic impacts as compared to others. • There is a strong interest in observing other jurisdictions who are further along in implementing vaccine mandate/proof of negative test scenarios and learning what worked and what did not, to ultimately increase vaccination rates. • Implementation of this type of ordinance would be very difficult, particularly for small and micro businesses who do not have the infrastructure to accommodate and are already experiencing severe challenges in implementing the mask requirements. Additionally, without consistent guidance from the County of Sacramento, the confusion and anxiety already being experienced, sometimes manifesting in physical violence, would invariably increase. Lastly, there are no resources for enforcement as the mask mandate is not currently being enforced with any consistency.

• The Sacramento County Public Health Office is the appropriate body to release and activate public health orders. As of the writing of this letter, the County has clearly articulated that they will follow guidance from the State of California which at this time is not mandating vaccinations. Instead, the state had decided to stick with the two-factor method of either proof of vaccination or negative COVID test to engage in large, group gatherings. With those themes in mind, we make the following recommendation:

• Do not move forward with an Emergency Ordinance at this time. • Utilize the next 45 days to partner with the business community and other critical community leaders on a full-scale, unified education campaign on the importance of vaccination, training for businesses on how to implement a proof of vaccination policy, actively work to facilitate City wide rapid testing availability, and provide no cost vaccination clinics to the community to increase overall vaccination rates.

• Utilize the next 45 days to work in close partnership with the County of Sacramento to continue open weekly dialog on this issue and respond dynamically to changing State policy and/or local COVID contraction data that would signal a heightened need for this type of ordinance.

• Create open dialog pathways with the County of Sacramento and specific business sectors that would like to see this in place for their industries prior to any change in State direction to do so. This will allow for a more targeted approach to meet the current need and provide County leadership a direct feedback loop to those who would be most impacted. It is notable that this recommendation is in line with the recommendation of Sacramento County Health Officials and will be dynamically adjusted based on real time data. Should the data communicate that this approach is not sufficient, we will work closely with the County to expedite more strict measures in response.

As this situation continues to evolve, we will continue to actively convene and expand these feedback sessions to keep communication as transparent as possible and are ready and available to partner on the 45-day education and vaccination campaign effective immediately.

Again, we appreciate the opportunity to have this dialogue with you and with the City of Sacramento. We are dedicated to our continued work together to ensure that as many Sacramentan’s as possible are kept safe, our businesses are given the chance to recover, and are unified in our belief that we are stronger together. In partnership

– Amanda Blackwood President & CEO Sacramento Metro Chamber Fred Palmer Executive Director Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Sergey Terebkov President Slavic-American Chamber of Commerce Pat Fong Kushida President & CEO Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce Azizza Davis Goines President & CEO Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Jenna Abbott Executive Director The River District Cathy Rodriguez Aguirre President & CEO Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Michelle Smira Bratmiller President MMS Strategies (R Street and Greater Broadway)

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