UPDATE below: The California Globe has learned that employees of the California Senate and Assembly who are unvaccinated will be sent weekly on Mondays to Cal Expo, between 7:00am and 9:00am for COVID testing – all at one location, together, at a set time.
The Assembly memo below claims “this step is necessary to avoid outbreaks.” Except, 40,098,803 total vaccines have been administered in California, and there aren’t any real “outbreaks.”
Out of 109,057 COVID tests given today, the California Department of Public Health claims there are 829 “cases” today. Despite the high number of false positives in the COVID PCR tests, even if 829 tested positive out of 109,057, most people are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. Very few ever end up in the hospital – something noted by the CDPH since they no longer post “hospitalizations” on the COVID dashboard.
Besides outing everyone who works in the Capitol who isn’t vaccinated, violating their privacy, there may be a silver lining to this: At least they will discover who else finds themselves in the same strange predicament.
California, which has been under lockdown orders since March 4, 2020, officially “reopened” this week upon the latest orders of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. That included the State Capitol. However, as the Globe reported, the Capitol really isn’t “reopened,” as many legislative offices remain closed to the public, committee hearings are empty, the hallways are devoid of lobbyists and those who have business with lawmakers, and the visitors to the Capitol are limited to a total of 500 in the Capitol at any given time. And face masks are mandatory everywhere in the Capitol.
The Globe observed 5 visitors/tourists in the Capitol Tuesday.
The Globe has been contacted by many Capitol staffers this week concerned not only at the loss of personal and medical privacy given how the Assembly and Senate leadership is handling their return to in-person work, many feel laws are being broken in the meantime.
But, because they are at-will employees and not protected by a collective bargaining agreement, many are truly worried they will lost their jobs if they do not comply with the undo pressure to take the vaccine. The term “at will employment” means that an employee can be fired at any time, and for any reason.
The Globe reported Monday:
Both houses of the Legislature issued memos (below) to elected lawmakers and staff outlining the rules for “reopening.” But these rules are largely the same as the rules during the lockdown: mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, and now staff must show proof of receiving the vaccine. In the Senate, staff is ordered to wear masks in their offices all day. Why?
A Capitol staffer said the Assembly memo was sent out at 5:52pm Wednesday evening, “when none of us could call and ask questions about it.”
During a phone call this week, one Capitol staffer asked, “Can you go to a restaurant without a mask on? Can you go to a bar without a mask on? Can you go to the grocery store without a mask on? Can you shop at Macy’s without a mask on? Then why are we being forced to wear masks and pushed to vaccinate?”
The other issue the Globe brought up, and many staffers expressed concern about, is the issue of those who already had the coronavirus and have antibodies, and therefore the need to vaccinate is largely a moot point. “No one in the Capitol will address this,” a staffer told the Globe.
The Globe reported Monday:
The Senate is dispensing medical advice: “The most important measure anyone can take to protect from injury or illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. As a reminder, all Senators and staff are highly encouraged to get vaccinated.”
“They are planning to go to fully mandated vaccines, so as a staffer you need to talk to the Rules committee about how to keep (or lose) your job… never once in my years of Capitol employment did I ever have to show medical records or vaccine records as a condition of my employment,” one Capitol staffer told the Globe about a medical exemption. “Why this virus? Why not HIV, or the common cold and seasonal flu? Why just this virus?”
Both the Assembly and Senate memos to employees say those who are unable to take the vaccine due to medical or “deeply held religious beliefs” need to share this information with the Rules Committees, and Assembly/Senate Human Resources Department.
“Employees who remain unvaccinated must not enter the Capitol or Legislative Office Building without a confirmed negative test.”
At this point, Capitol staff who are feeling coerced into getting the vaccine, or are being made to feel like outcasts because of how the legislative leaders are handling the return-to-work policies, may want to seek each other out and approach these issues as a group.
Remember, the Globe learned on Tuesday that the mask rule is remaining in place, even for the vaccinated, because there are a lot of Democrat lawmakers who haven’t been vaccinated and don’t want to take the vaccine. So legislative leaders are browbeating everyone else to wear masks as cover, claiming it’s for “safety.”
The Globe received this memo from a Senate office, sent by Senate Secretary Erika Contreras Thursday afternoon: