Chicago city workers can opt out of vaccination and instead get tested semiweekly for COVID-19 for the rest of the year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.
City workers must report their vaccination status by Oct. 15. If they don’t, they’ll be placed on no pay status, the city said.
But unvaccinated workers will be required to get tested twice a week for COVID-19 on their time and at their own expense, the city said.
After Dec. 31, city workers must be fully vaccinated unless they have received an approved religious or medical exemption, Lightfoot said.
The city’s announcement was long expected and teased by Lightfoot last week.
The mayor’s vaccine mandate has been a test of wills with her antagonists in the police union and other labor organizations representing many employees who don’t want to get the vaccine.
Several unions, including the Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Federation of Labor, have been opposed to a vaccination mandate and are likely to resist discipline. Whether the city will attempt to carry out discipline against workers who aren’t vaccinated on Jan. 1 or find some other compromise is unclear.
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