Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced today that the city will phase in a mandatory vaccination requirement for its 18,000 employees over the next two months.
The updated policy applies to all City of Boston employees, onsite contractors and volunteers who provide services onsite at City worksites, including all full-time, part-time, seasonal, emergency and probationary workers. If an employee cannot verify they are fully vaccinated, they are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days.
Meanwhile, all visitors to city buildings - and workers in them - will continue to have to wear masks inside them.
Three of Janey's opponents in the September primary - Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell and John Barros - had earlier called for a vaccination requirement for city workers. Two days ago, the remaining major candidate, Annissa Essaibi George, opposed a vaccine requirement.
Employees of departments that deal with "high priority residents" - BPS, BPL, community centers and departments that focus on seniors and residents with disabilities - will have to show proof of vaccination or weekly test results by Sept. 20. All contractors working for those departments, as well as workers at other departments with heavy public contact - including police, fire, parks, ISD and the parking clerk - become subject to the requirement on Oct. 4. All other employees will have to start complying by Oct. 18.
Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang praised the program. However, Boston Firefighters Local 718 President John Soares vowed last week to fight any required shots without a round of bargaining to determine what his members get in return.
Janey said the city will set up clinics to offer shots to the shotless, including one specifically for workers at City Hall on Aug. 31. Also:
To help encourage vaccination rates among employees, the City will conduct a weekly lottery, the winner of which will be granted an extra one week of paid time off. All benefit eligible employees who verify their full vaccination status during the preceding week will be automatically entered into the lottery.