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Cincinnati City Employees Must Get COVID Vaccine Or Submit Weekly Tests

johnson & johnson covid vaccine
David Zalubowski

City of Cincinnati employees need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 21 or submit weekly COVID tests. City Manager Paula Boggs Muething announced the new policy Wednesday.

Boggs Muething says the policy was developed with input from many city departments.

"Human resources, law, and the health commissioner herself and her deputy, as well as me and the assistant city managers," she said. "And we did further develop it and refine it as a result with negotiations and communications with our unions."

Vaccinated employees will be eligible for paid administrative leave if they contract the virus or have to quarantine; unvaccinated employees will not be eligible for that leave unless they're granted an exemption from this policy for spiritual or religious beliefs or a medical issue.

The city is offering a $100 cash card for city workers who get vaccinated at a city health department site. Three upcoming vaccination clinics through the health department are available:

  • Sept. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Police CIS – 6th Floor Roll Call Room (801 Linn St.)
  • Sept. 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Greater Cincinnati Water Works RMTP – WQT Conference Room (5651 Kellogg Ave)
  • Sept. 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Health Department – First Floor Auditorium (3101 Burnet Ave.)

Full-time employees who were vaccinated before this policy can get a $50 Healthy Lifestyles benefit.
The city will provide unvaccinated employees with at-home COVID tests, and with a list of options for free testing. Workers who don't report their vaccination status will be treated as unvaccinated under the policy.

Boggs Muething says although the pandemic is surging again, the administration decided against returning to remote work.

"It is our belief across the board that having employees in the workplace is a much more productive, collegial environment," she said. "And that when people are working remotely, it can be effective [but] there can also be lapses that do not occur when there is in-person work."

About 65% of Greater Cincinnati's eligible population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the Hamilton County Health Department.

Read the full policy below:

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.