ST. LOUIS — The City of St. Louis has announced a requirement for city employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or get regular testing.
There are nearly 6,000 civil service employees who fall into the requirement, the city said.
City workers will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15. Otherwise, employees will need to get tested for the virus every week by the city's health department. The city will not allow any exemptions from the weekly testing requirement, besides full vaccination.
Mayor Tishaura Jones' office said the requirement is a move to encourage more people to get vaccinated and slow the spread of COVID-19.
“St. Louis is joining the ranks of major public and private sector employers across the country who are requiring vaccination to protect public health,” Mayor Jones wrote in a news release Wednesday afternoon. “By encouraging vaccinations, we help keep our hospitals running, protect our children, and save lives.”
The city's announcement cited an increase in cases, especially among youth and those too young to get the vaccine. Mayor Jones' office said those 0-19 years old now make up nearly 25% of new COVID-19 cases, and children younger than 10 account for about 12% of new cases, "which is greater than at any point in the pandemic," the mayor's office said.
“Choosing to receive the vaccine is also an act of compassion by helping to protect yourself, your family, your co-workers, and the community as a whole," said Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis.
City employees fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 are eligible for the city's employee vaccine incentive program, which offers $100 in gift cards.
On Aug. 6, Jones confirmed that a member of her staff had tested positive for coronavirus.