The city of Phoenix Tuesday announced it has paused plans to implement a federal mandate requiring all city employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. This decision comes after a series of legal challenges and a ruling Tuesday from a federal judge in Georgia which temporarily halts the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.
“As we’ve faced the COVID-19 pandemic, employee safety and maintaining essential city services have been our priority. In meeting those demands, the one constant has been our ability to be flexible. Today’s decision further reflects that flexibility,” said City Manager Jeff Barton. “Since we first were alerted that city employees would be subject to the Presidential Executive Order mandating the vaccine for federal contractors, we have promised to monitor legal challenges and adjust accordingly. While I continue believe the vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, we owe it to our employees to allow the legal process to play out.”
Last month it was announced that because the city of Phoenix is a Federal contractor, the COVID-19 vaccine would be required for all employees by January 18, 2022 as outlined in Presidential Executive Order 14042. While there has not been a final legal decision, any implementation within the city is on hold pending the outcome of the court cases.
The city said in the policy session that 51% of city employees have submitted a completed vaccine card.
The city also shared that 29% of the city’s staff tested positive for the virus. 24 employees died from COVID-19. In addition, 747 workers’ compensation claims have been filed related to the virus totaling $5.8 million incurred.
Although the implementation of the vaccine requirement is on hold, employee safety remains a top priority. The city offers free COVID vaccines, booster shots, and testing options to employees and their families.