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Belleville requiring city employees to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing

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BELLEVILLE — City employees in Belleville will need to receive a COVID vaccine or undergo weekly testing, after the City Council voted 14-1 this week to approve the stipulation.

Employees have until Feb. 8 to comply. If they choose to get vaccinated, they would need to get the first dose by Monday. 

Mayor Patty Gregory said the ordinance was in response to a requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In November, the federal agency issued the order requiring employers with at least 100 employees to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing, although the federal order is being challenged in court.

“I know it’s being viewed by some as a vaccination mandate, but really we're not mandating people to get vaccinations,” Gregory said. “They’re trying to set it up as easy as possible for the employee that has chosen not to be vaccinated or has gotten a waiver, but still has to take the test.” 

The ordinance passed with just one "no" vote, by Ward 3 Council member Kent Randle.

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency reported 4,249 new COVID-19 cases from Dec. 30 to Jan. 5.  

The city’s departments heads have began using COVID-19 relief funds to buy over-the-counter tests for employees, Gregory said.

City Council meetings also are reverting to an online-only format, she added.

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