CHICAGO - City employees who have not been fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 must undergo COVID-19 testing twice a week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.
The tests must be separated by three to four days, and it is the responsibility of the employee for obtaining those tests on their own time and at their own expense. The tests must then be reported to the city.
The testing option will only be available through Dec. 31 of this year.
After that deadline, employees must be fully vaccinated, unless they have received an approved medical or religious exemption, the city said.
"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," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "It is crucial to the health and safety of every resident that we continue our equitable, targeted efforts to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 across our city and especially within our City departments and agencies."
Employees who fail to report their vaccination status by Oct. 15 will be placed in a non-disciplinary, no pay status.
Employees who are fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 will receive one personal day to use before June 30, 2022.
Represented sworn employees of the Chicago Police Department will not receive the additional personal day, city officials said.
"The overwhelming majority of hospitalizations and deaths we see from COVID-19 are among the unvaccinated. This vaccine is safe and it works," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. "Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect not only yourself but those around you from COVID-19. I applaud this responsible, common-sense requirement to keep the City’s employees and those they work with safe."
While the Chicago Police Department is required to report vaccination status or be a part of the regular bi-weekly testing, city officials said they continue to bargain with the Fraternal Order of Police and the Policemen's Benevolent & Protective Association to reach a policy that will keep first responders safe.