PHILADELPHIA, PA – City Council will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all City Council employees – both Councilmembers and staff – by the initial Council Stated Meeting in September, Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) announced today. This action is to ensure the health and safety of every employee, as Council takes steps to return to in-person work, and to allow the public into Council’s chambers in City Hall to observe and participate in Council’s legislative business. Council’s first Meeting of the Fall session is scheduled to take place in-person on September 16.
Council’s action to require vaccinations by its employees comes as the Delta variant of COVID-19 is causing rapidly escalating infections, hospitalizations and deaths across the United States, including in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. It also comes as a growing number of private companies, local, state and Federal government entities are starting to impose vaccine mandates in the interest of public health and safety.
Philadelphia is currently averaging 180 new cases of COVID-19 per day. So far during the pandemic, 148,435 Philadelphians have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 3,780 have died from the disease. Just over 63 percent of Philadelphia adults are fully vaccinated, and 77 percent of adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“We understand the importance of Council returning to live Meetings and hearings after more than a year of conducting the people’s business remotely,” said Council President Clarke. “The public has a right to see and participate in the business of their City Council. At the same time, we must balance that right with public health and safety. With the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, we must act to protect the public and Council. That’s why we are requiring that all Council employees be vaccinated.”
Council President Clarke said that if a Council employee has a religious or medical objection to being vaccinated, they can request an exemption in writing, with accompanying religious or medical documentation. Requests can be made to Council’s human resources director, who will review them confidentially.
Staff members who are unable to be vaccinated for those documented reasons will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 tests.