L.A. Mayor Sees ‘Rocky’ Path as Vaccine Deadline Looms for Cops, Teachers
(Bloomberg) -- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said it’ll be a “rocky month” as a deadline looms for city workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of continued employment.
“If a third of people don’t show up for work and there’s fires, or crime is on the rise, and we can’t staff our police stations, it’s going to be a mess,” Garcetti said in an interview from his office on Wednesday. “On the other hand, every place that is mandated, most people think, ‘OK, it wasn’t so bad.’”
The city council voted unanimously last month to require city employees, including firefighters and police, to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 5 unless they have medical or religious exemptions. Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District have until Oct. 15, while county employees have until Oct. 1. About 61% of workers at Los Angeles Police Department have complied, compared with 68% of L.A. County residents ages 12 and older, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, citing LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
Garcetti said he doesn’t yet know what to expect from the L.A. rule. It could play out like a mandate for health-care workers in New York, which has boosted vaccination rates, or city workers could refuse the shot and face suspension.
“There’s going to be consequences, we’re negotiating how that happens,” Garcetti said. “Our No. 1 responsibility is to protect lives. It’s a nonnegotiable thing.”
The mayor applauded Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for publicly disclosing this week that he’s been vaccinated, despite his earlier skepticism. Garcetti, who has led the city since 2013, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be ambassador to India and is awaiting Senate confirmation.
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