Berkeley to implement vaccine mandate for all city employees

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Following suit with state and federal guidelines on mandatory vaccines for government employees, the city of Berkeley will require vaccination for all city employees.

Aside from the mandate for more than 1,500 city employees, city officials also urged businesses and employers in Berkeley to increase vaccination using “all tools they have available,” according to a city press release.

“Increasing vaccinations in any workplace will strengthen its ability to stay open and keep employees healthy,” said city health officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez in the press release. “Mandating vaccination and verifying proof of vaccination in the workplace is the best practice and I recommend it.”

The announcement follows a rapid increase in cases due to the “highly-contagious” Delta variant, the press release adds. At the beginning of August, Hernandez issued an order requiring all Berkeley residents to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.

In July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will require all government and health care workers to have proof of vaccination or be tested regularly. In addition, workers in “high-risk congregate” settings, including at senior residential facilities, homeless shelters and jails were also subject to the new guidelines.

Soon thereafter, U.S. President Joe Biden announced similar measures, noting that all federal employees must be vaccinated or comply with strict regulations. Those who are unvaccinated must wear masks, physically distance and comply with screening testing at least once a week.

“Vaccines continue to guide us, including though this tricky phase of the pandemic,” Hernandez said in the press release. “Employers that use COVID-19 safeguards are more likely to stay open, especially those with high rates of vaccination among employees.”

Aditya Katewa is the executive news editor. Contact him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @adkatewa1.