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City of Gainesville requires all employees to get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by September 14

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Other provisions in Feldman’s memorandum include a requirement for the general public to be masked in order to interact with or receive service from GRU employees

A memo to all Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) employees yesterday from General Manager Ed Bielarski laid out the plan for getting all City of Gainesville employees vaccinated by October 14, 2021. That leaves employees just over 60 days to become fully vaccinated.

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Bielarski wrote, “the direction of the Commission was clear and indivisible: All employees will receive the COVID vaccine. The only questions were when and with what exemptions?”

City Manager Memorandum No. 210040 is attached to the memo, with the full response from the City’s charter officers to the City Commission’s directive to implement a mandatory vaccination policy.

The August 12 Memorandum from City Manager Lee Feldman lays out the charter officers’ response to the City Commission’s 8-part motion on August 5. The plan to require vaccines for employees states that all employees will be required to attest to their vaccination status, including proof of vaccination, by September 7. All employees who have not provided evidence of vaccination will be required to demonstrate that they have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 5 p.m. on September 14. “Any employee who fails to meet this condition of employment, shall be subject to progressive disciplinary action in accordance [sic] Personnel Policy E-3… and their respective collective bargaining agreements.” All employees must receive the final dose by 5 p.m. on October 14. “Employees may request accommodation for medical or religious reasons, in accordance with State and Federal law, upon presentation to [Employee Health Services] (for medical) or Human Resources (for religious) of sufficient documentation to demonstrate the need for the accommodation.”

Other provisions in Feldman’s memorandum include a requirement for the general public to be masked in order to interact with or receive service from GRU employees: “Non-complying individuals will first be offered a mask, then service will be denied if a mask is then not worn.”

The City Commission voted to provide a paid day off to all employees who get vaccinated, but the charter officers decided that “Since the definition of leave (paid time off) varies among employees based upon hours work [sic] and leave classification, the Charter Officers will implement a $250 cash incentive to all employees who have demonstrated that they received the first dose of a vaccine by 5 p.m., September 14, 2021.”

Any employee traveling outside of Alachua County, involving an overnight stay on official City business, is required to be fully vaccinated.

The full memos may be read here.

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