By JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Montclair will require all township employees to be vaccinated or to comply with regular COVID-19 testing, according to a new policy announced on Thursday.
Fully vaccinated employees must provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 1, township Communications Director Katya Wowk said.
“The coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a clear and present danger to public health,” Mayor Sean Spiller said in a press release issued Thursday. “In light of the highly contagious Delta variant, implementing a vaccination or testing requirement for all municipal employees is a common sense step we can take to mitigate further spread and help get us back on the path to recovery.”
Wowk said the number of employees who have been vaccinated to date would not be available until after Oct. 1, when all employees must present proof of vaccination. As of Monday, 73% of Montclair residents of any age, and 87% of those over age 18 had been vaccinated, according to state data.
A memo sent to township employees directs them to go to Essex County’s testing and vaccination site at the former Kmart building in West Orange if they opt for weekly testing instead of vaccination.
Gov. Phil Murphy recently issued similar orders requiring all state workers, including state college and university employees, as well as all K-12 school employees to get vaccinated or comply with regular testing.
President Joe Biden has announced a mandate for all federal workers and those on government contracts to get vaccinated. The White House said federal workers would have about 75 days from the announcement, first made Sept. 9. He’s additionally directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard in the coming weeks requiring vaccines or testing for employers with more than 100 employees.
“In accordance with federal and state guidelines, and in concert with requirements enacted by Gov. Murphy, Montclair must do everything we can locally to help protect public health” Spiller said. “Safe and effective vaccines are the best tool we have in our arsenal to protect residents and finally put an end to this pandemic. We can’t afford to go back.”