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Richmond to mandate vaccination for city workers

August 4, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s capital city is instituting a vaccine mandate for most of its several thousand employees.

Democratic Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney made the announcement Wednesday, saying it would ensure the health and safety of both city workers and the public at large.

“The vaccine is our greatest tool to save lives and truly beat this pandemic,” he said in a statement.

The move comes as the delta variant is driving a surge in COVID-19 cases, and a growing number of state and local governments and major employers in the U.S. are taking an increasingly hard line against vaccine holdouts.

In Richmond, the mandate will apply to about 3,600 workers. Vaccinated employees will be asked to prove their status, the city said in a news release. Workers who haven’t gotten vaccinated already must begin the process so they are fully vaccinated by Oct. 1.

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Those who don’t comply “will be subject to disciplinary action,” the news release said. Medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

The state does not currently have a mask mandate or a similar vaccine mandate for state workers.

Richmond’s decision comes after the Fairfax County board voted last week to explore a similar mandate, though it hasn’t yet been implemented.