San Francisco is enforcing full vaccine mandates for police and firefighters, and is recommending suspension without pay for first responders that fail to report vaccination status. The city said that first responders may even lose their job for holding out on the vaccine.
On Friday Aug. 17, San Francisco implemented widespread restrictions that require businesses to check for proof of vaccination status before allowing patrons onto their property. The restrictions come after an Aug. 12 deadline mandating that city employees register their vaccination status with the city.
The Bay Area city was one of the first in the country to mandate vaccinations for indoor patrons in restaurants, bars, gyms and museums.
Recently, the city sent out letters to department heads recommending that eight officers, seven firefighters and two deputies be suspended without pay for 10 days for not disclosing vaccination status. The letters, according to The Chronicle, outlined the consequences of non-compliance with vaccine mandates.
In addition, the San Francisco Police Department has set an Oct. 13 deadline for vaccination. The department wrote in a letter to the force that failure to comply could lead to “disciplinary action.”
According to ABC7, the final word is up to the department heads to go ahead with the suspensions, which can be appealed, but pressure from the city is mounting.
Hundreds of similar letters may be sent to warn employees in other departments next week.
“The health and well-being of city employees and the public we serve are top priorities during our emergency response to COVID-19,” the letter said, according to an article in The Chronicle. “Your failure to comply with the vaccination status reporting requirement endangers the health and safety of the city’s workforce and the public we serve.”
The city stated in June that it would mandate vaccines for all public employees upon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. If employees refuse to get the jab and lack a medical or religious exemption, they risk losing their job.
KTVU reported earlier in the month that as many as 200 city employees requested religious or medical exemptions from the vaccine mandate.
According to Department of Human Resources Chief of Policy Mawuli Tugbenyoh, nearly 100% have reported their vaccination status to the city, and roughly 90% are vaccinated.
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, a S.F. sheriff’s union, has responded to the vaccine mandates by threatening widespread resignations of deputies. The Chronicle has also reported that a firefighter is suing the city over the new ruling.
So far, a minority of 4,300 city workers remain unvaccinated compared to 36,000 fully vaccinated workers.
Fox News stated that more than 80% of the city’s eligible population is vaccinated.