Del Mar City Council passes resolution to support county COVID rules, rejects local vax mandate

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Del Mar City Council members approved urgency ordinances and a resolution to “encourage” residents and businesses to follow public health orders during a Jan. 26 special meeting, but declined to pursue a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

For months, Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden has mentioned the possibility of a local mandate similar to the one in effect in West Hollywood, requiring proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and other types of businesses.

Worden said during the meeting that the mandate would “help improve safety for a particularly vulnerable portion of our population.”

“It isn’t a perfect solution,” he said. “People who are fully vaccinated can still transmit the virus. But there’s no question, the indoor environments would be safer for the vulnerable portion of our population if we had a mandatory vax requirement.”

No other council members supported a local mandate.

“I think it would be very difficult to enforce,” said Del Mar Deputy Mayor Tracy Martinez, a healthcare executive and registered nurse. “I think following the county guidelines is appropriate.”

COVID-19 policies already in place in Del Mar include a vaccination mandate for city government employees and a requirement for proof of vaccination or a negative test for private events at city facilities. The council has also been holding all meetings online since the beginning of the pandemic.

The vaccination rate in the 92014 zip code, which includes the city of Del Mar, is 933 out of 1,000 residents, according to county data.

The special meeting took place as the Omicron variant continues to cause a surge in cases.

Measures in the urgency ordinances included extending the expiration date on modifications to temporary commercial sign restrictions and other measures that were aimed at supporting local businesses.

The resolution approved by the council does not add any local regulations.

The resolution reads: “The City Council of the City of Del Mar hereby encourages Del Mar residents and businesses to follow current public health orders and best practices including, but not limited to, vaccinations/boosters, mask wearing, and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Del Mar City Councilman Dave Druker also said the city should not implement anything more stringent than the current county guidelines.

“We’re encouraging everyone to follow those rules,” he said, speaking in support of approving only the resolution. “It’s as simple as that.”

Del Mar City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland reiterated that the resolution does not have a legal component.”

“There’s no legal requirement, there’s not even a legal recommendation,” she said.