ST. LOUIS- Mayor Tishaura Jones announced Wednesday that civil service employees in the city of St. Louis will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing from the city health department starting October 15.
The move impacts 6,000 city employees.
“St. Louis is joining the ranks of major public and private sector employers across the country who are requiring vaccination to protect public health,” Jones said in a statement. “By encouraging vaccinations, we help keep our hospitals running, protect our children, and save lives.”
The statement said employees who are fully vaccinated will still be eligible for the city’s vaccine incentive program, which offers $100 gift cards to people who complete their vaccinations.
In addition to employers, like SSM Health Care, colleges and universities, many music venues and restaurants in the St. Louis region have decided to mandate proof of vaccines for access.
Earlier this month, six Republican state senators asked Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session to prevent private businesses in the state from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, saying the requirement violates individual freedoms.
The request drew a rebuke from the head of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, who said federal and state law and the courts have upheld the rights of employers to require vaccines.
The Associated Press contributed information for this story