On the heels of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich calling on Governor Ducey to stop government COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the city of Phoenix announced that all 14,000 employees have until January 18, 2022 to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
According to an email sent to city workers on Thursday, City of Phoenix employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or they will be subject to “progressive discipline,” which could include termination.
City officials say that due to the many federal contracts held by the City of Phoenix, all city employees are subject to the provisions outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order. Biden’s September order stated all federal workers or contractors must be fully vaccinated against the virus.
All employees, regardless of telecommute status or a previous positive COVID-19 test, or those claiming immunity, must submit a completed vaccination card that show proof of two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Booster doses aren’t required at this time.
The city’s letter to employees states that there will be limited exceptions for those not wanting to be vaccinated. The city is allowing employees to apply for religious or medical accommodations for those who wish to opt-out of the policy. Required supporting document must be provided, however approval is not guaranteed. Special requests must be submitted by Dec. 31.
Gov. Doug Ducey has previously said there would not be vaccine or mask mandates in Arizona. Officials in Arizona’s second-largest city said their plan is legal after a Maricopa County judge struck down a state law banning vaccine mandates.
The City of Phoenix mandate includes all police officers and firefighters.
The mandate is hitting at a time when Phoenix is in the middle of a staffing crisis in the police department. Leaders state that Phoenix has not been able to hire enough officers to meet staffing needs.
“I don’t think anyone should be mandated to put something in their body that they don’t agree with,” said City of Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio in an interview Thursday night. “This is completely a slap in the face of our Police Department and our Fire Department.”
The unions have announced that they will take a hard look at the new requirement and how it impacts their members.