Imperial Beach is considering implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city employees, the discussion happened during Wednesday night’s city council meeting.
Following the meeting the assistant City manager, Erika Cortez-Martinez, told NBC 7 the City Council provided direction to staff to extend the existing policy, which is obtain proof of vaccination, for an additional 30-days and include medical and religious exemptions with no employee discipline. Staff will return to the City Council with additional information to revisit the subject after the 30-days or soon thereafter at a future council meeting.
During Sept. 15's meeting councilmembers considered mandating vaccines for all employees or just unrepresented employees, and will also look into requiring weekly negative COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees or extending the proof of vaccination process.
Currently, all Imperial Beach city employees, volunteers, councilmembers and contractors, regardless of vaccination status, are subject to the city’s mask requirement.
The city recently collected vaccination status data from its employees, per CAL OSHA rules. The data shows 72% of the city's administration department and 44 % of its maintenance and operations staff is fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 65% of its public safety staff did not respond.
(includes full and partial vaccination)
(includes those that declined to provide proof of vaccination)
(did not respond)
|Maintenance & Operation||44.4%||4.4%||51.2%|
|Parks & Rec||100%||NA||NA|
The city report states employees who have declined to show proof of vaccine are assumed to be unvaccinated.
Residents are mixed on what their local leaders should decide to do.
“I just think that it helps keep everyone safe and keep our economy going, and we all need to do it to stay safe,” said Imperial Beach resident Penny Hayden.
Imperial Beach has 96 represented employees across its administration, maintenance and operation, public safety and parks and recreation departments, as well as 25 non-represented employees and five city leaders. All are being considered for the mandate.
“I think everybody has a right to make their own personal choice and utilize the safe social distancing and masks and stuff in crowds,” said Paul Hanson, Imperial Beach resident.
According to the city report, Wednesday's 5 p.m. meeting could end with a vote on the item. Councilmembers could decide more information is needed and carry the item on to a future meeting.
Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina told NBC 7 he will not comment until the meeting which is standard practice for him for items on council meeting agendas.
The Service Employees International Union, Local 221 represents some of the IB city staff. They shared this statement with NBC 7:
“SEIU Local 221 strongly encourages all of the working families we represent and the communities we serve to follow the advice of public health officials and get the COVID-19 vaccine, which has full FDA approval. We believe the best way to increase vaccination numbers is through education, and we are in dialog with the city of Imperial Beach and other employers to share this perspective.”