Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer on Wednesday afternoon introduced the city’s coronavirus policy demanding staff to be vaccinated or post to necessary weekly COVID tests and donning masks within the place of work.
The announcement arrives as a surge fueled by the COVID delta variant sweeps the region.
Through Wednesday, pretty much 1,100 coronavirus conditions have been documented this week in Fresno County. That’s the most significant selection of new infections in a 7 days considering the fact that late February, when a vicious winter spike in COVID-19 conditions in December and January was winding down.
“We are not basing these choices on politics,” Dyer said. “We are basing these decisions on specifics, on the facts we have, and the drive to preserve employee lives and life in the neighborhood.”
The prepare goes into effect Tuesday, Sept. 7 — the day right after Labor Working day.
Dyer approximated that at least 36% of city workforce are vaccinated, but he acknowledged employees’ reluctance to report their vaccination position. He hopes the quantity is nearer to 50%.
On Wednesday, 70 employees were being in quarantine possibly due to the fact of a beneficial COVID take a look at or they had been uncovered. In the coming months, town personnel will get the job done to get a additional exact record of worker vaccinations and construct a database.
If employees refuse to get vaccinated or comply with the screening and masking policies, they could be subject matter to corrective action, together with termination, in accordance to a metropolis memo.
Dyer said his intent is to stimulate workforce to get vaccinated.
“We’re not below these days to issue why folks do not get vaccinated,” he explained. “We’re not here to vilify individuals people, whether they’re employees or other. We know men and women have a motive for that. It is a individual decision in their existence that they have designed. It could be as a final result of well being motives, spiritual beliefs, or just a worry of the unfamiliar, and not believing that the vaccine has been all around prolonged ample to be adequately analyzed.
“But 1 detail we do know, we are going to keep on to motivate men and women to be vaccinated because we do not want to go backwards,” he mentioned.
Dyer was joined by Councilmembers Luis Chavez and Miguel Arias, who warned towards listening to political rhetoric. Alternatively, they asked personnel and inhabitants to spend interest to knowledge from Fresno County’s Community Health Department.
Chavez stated the big difference this yr when compared to very last 12 months is that we now have the vaccine, which has proven to be an powerful tool.
“We do not want to go back again to shutdowns,” he explained.
Sam Frank, president of the Fresno Metropolis Personnel Association, mentioned making the vaccine optional for employees was critical. If it was obligatory, some employees might’ve preferred to retire or give up. As well as, the union has no energy to halt the plan given that the mayor and metropolis supervisor are acting under an crisis executive purchase.
Screening after a week is doable, he said, especially if it’s created effortless, these kinds of as earning it obtainable through do the job hrs and free. So significantly, sporting masks at function has not been a substantial challenge for the 700-additionally white collar personnel the union represents, he reported.
“These people for most section have been protected,” Frank said. “They don their masks, practice social distancing, wear their PPE and for the most section haven’t gotten COVID. They’re heading to proceed doing the things they’ve been accomplishing.”
He asked for compassion towards those people who are not vaccinated. Although quite handful of could be opposed solely to vaccines, numerous are basically fearful of the COVID vaccines due to the fact they’ve study the tales of people today owning terrible reactions.
“You just cannot paint them all with the very same brush,” he reported.
Frank claimed he appreciated the incentive systems in towns these kinds of as San Francisco and New York, in which staff obtain $100 or $200 if they get vaccinated.
Bredefeld opposes program
The town system was straight away opposed by Councilmember Garry Bredefeld, who mentioned he’s been in make contact with with several folks fearful of dropping their positions if they really do not post to the “authoritarian mandate.” He stated employees should not be compelled to be vaccinated and named the tests and masking policies “harassment.”
Although Bredefeld encouraged personnel to get vaccinated to shield by themselves from COVID-19 and the delta variant, he also referred to as the vaccines “experimental.”
“I consider if you are healthier plenty of, you need to consider the vaccine,” he explained “But you should not pressure it, and it should not be Dr. Dyer, or any politician, telling people how to are living their lives.”