Winnipeg’s mayor expects all front-line city staff who don’t obey the municipal requirement to get vaccinated against COVID-19 would be able to submit to frequent testing for the virus instead.

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Winnipeg’s mayor expects all front-line city staff who don’t obey the municipal requirement to get vaccinated against COVID-19 would be able to submit to frequent testing for the virus instead.

While the city has noted it’s "exploring" testing as an alternative for those who don’t get their shots in time for the Nov. 15 deadline, it did not previously guarantee the option would be available as an alternative to staff who aren’t immunized.

On Wednesday, Mayor Brian Bowman told media the intent of the expected testing regime would be to ensure it’s available to councillors and staff who aren’t vaccinated.

"The intent is to largely have a similar program to what the province has," said Bowman.

The testing option could alleviate concerns that a potential shortage of staff could affect city service levels, if a significant number of employees are put on leave due to their vaccination status.

However, the mayor repeatedly urged all council members, city staff and Winnipeggers to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure businesses can operate at pre-pandemic levels.

"If you care about service disruption, go get the vaccine. If you care about your own health, go get the vaccine. If you care about your community and the businesses that want to get back to business, go get the vaccine," said Bowman.

He said the city is working out the details of its testing plan with the provincial government.

The city is collecting information on how many of its front-line staff have been vaccinated.

The city’s vaccine requirement will affect several groups of employees, including those in public safety, community protection, recreation, public transportation and public-facing customer service roles.

On Tuesday, the Winnipeg Police Service revealed 92 per cent of its officers and civilian staff had declared they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

 

 

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.