Stanton city officials are set to decide at their meeting on Tuesday if they want to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all city staff under a new policy.
If approved, employees could lose their jobs if they don’t comply with the policy and volunteers, as well as contractors who don’t follow the mandate will not be allowed to work at city facilities.
“The proposed policy is the strictest among COVID-19 vaccination policies for employers,” reads the staff report attached to Tuesday’s agenda. “To date, out of 59 full-time and part-time employees, 51 employees have self-attested to being fully vaccinated.”
The council could also adopt a less strict policy simply requiring employees to show proof of vaccination or get tested weekly.
If Stanton implements the new policy, it would join a list of Orange County cities, including Santa Ana, Irvine and Laguna Beach in issuing a vaccine requirement for staff.
Council members discussed the policy at their meeting on Sept. 14 at the request of Councilman Gary Taylor.
“We need to take a stand and go for the betterment of the community, the health of the community verses a virus that is killing an awful lot of people — has killed a lot of people in this country and in our city and in Orange County,” he said at that meeting.
Councilwoman Carol Warren agreed.
“We’re a public service entity here and I don’t think part of our public service is transmitting COVID-19,” she said. “A couple cities have done it already.”
Councilwoman Hong Alyce Van questioned if the policy would drive employees away or help bring up vaccination rates.
“I don’t want to lose good people and I worry about that but at the same time I want to make sure our employees feel safe at work and our employees feel that they don’t have to worry about catching COVID and that we are a city that takes the pandemic seriously,” she said.
At its last meeting, the council directed staff to draft a vaccination policy.
Under the proposal, all staff members, contractors and volunteers must submit a COVID-19 vaccination verification form and a copy of their vaccination record for proof by Nov. 18.
Staff with medical restrictions that impede them from getting a vaccine may fill out a medical exemption form and those with religious beliefs that do not allow them to take the vaccine may fill out a religious exemption form.
If the exemption is not approved, staff will have 45 days to become fully vaccinated.
Come Nov. 18, employees who are exempt will be required to get tested weekly and wear a mask indoors as a condition of their employment, if the policy is approved. Free testing will be provided during work hours.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden made an announcement requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for all businesses with over 100 employees. He also announced an executive order requiring all federal government employees and contractors to be vaccinated.
The Stanton City Council is expected to decide on the policy at its meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Those who wish to attend the meeting must do so in person at the City Council chambers.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.