With a week to go until her COVID vaccine mandate deadline, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today that employees not fully vaccinated by Oct. 15, 2021, will face twice weekly testing “on their own time and at their own expense” that must be reported to the city, according to a release from Lightfoot’s office. Employees who don’t report their vaccination status by Oct. 15 “will be placed in a nondisciplinary, no-pay status.”
Those who are not fully vaccinated or receive an exemption before the Oct. 15 deadline will still be subject to testing requirements, which would be separated by 3-4 days.
But that testing option will be available through Dec. 31, 2021. Consequences for those who are not vaccinated by then were not included in the release, which only states that in the new year, “employees must be fully vaccinated unless they have received an approved medical or religious exemption.”
Those who have been fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 will receive one personal day to use before June 30, 2022. Sworn employees of the Chicago Police Department are not eligible for that bonus day.
“While the Chicago Police Department is required to report vaccination status or be a part of the regular biweekly testing, the City of Chicago continues to bargain in good faith with the Fraternal Order of Police and the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association to reach a fair and workable policy that will keep our first responders safe,” the release says.
Today’s announcement follows weeks of confusion and pushback from police unions to the mandate the mayor first announced in August. Lightfoot warned last week there would be “consequences” for city employees who weren’t vaccinated, but had not specified them.
“The end of this pandemic is within our reach if we continue to get vaccinated and encourage those who haven’t yet received their shots about the safety and efficacy of this lifesaving vaccine,” Lightfoot said in that release. Vaccination is “crucial” to the city’s health and to stop the spread of the virus. “That is why we are providing a testing option for employees until December 31 while we continue to do everything at our disposal to educate employees with true scientific data and research as well as continue our conversations with our unions and labor partners.”