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Reno city employees face vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:57 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The rise of the Delta variant and continuing resistance have forced the federal government and major corporations to begin declaring vaccine mandates. We can now add the city of Reno to that growing list.

Friday morning city employees saw an email from City Manager Doug Thornley warning they would soon be required to be vaccinated. Thornley said it was the “next step” to ensure public health and safety.

“COVID-19 has direct and indirect negative implications to the public’s health, he said. “A vaccinated employee is less likely to have the virus and, therefore, less likely to transmit it to others. The best solution we can offer is to require all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

There was no definite deadline for the directive. Thornley said it would coincide with the expected approval of the Moderna vaccine.

The email also did not outline consequences for failure to comply nor any exceptions nor mention any appeal process. Thornley said only a plan was in the works.

Individual blowback was certain, but there’s also reaction from two key employee unions.

The Reno Police Protective Association, representing the police department’s rank and file, issued a statement questioning the need for a mandate and said they were ready to work with city management to find a solution that didn’t require one.

The fire fighter’s union local 731...noted its members have played a role in the city’s COVID response--even manning some vaccine clinics and said many (it’s believed an overwhelming majority) of its members have been vaccinated ‘to protect our families, co-workers and the public.

but they also indicated the idea of a mandate remains an issue. “as we continue to discuss any implementation or impact of a vaccine mandate,” the statement read,”we respect our members individual rights and encourage an accommodation for religious and medical reasons.”

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