Illinois Gov. Pritzker announces COVID-19 vaccination requirement for some state employees
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - The state of Illinois is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for some state employees, according to an announcement made by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday.
“Such as our veterans homes, our correctional facilities, and the Dept. of Human Services Developmental Centers and psychiatric hospitals,” Gov. Pritzker said.
Those state employees are required to get the vaccine by Oct. 1.
The state’s new mandate comes as a growing number of private companies are making their own vaccine requirements.
Walmart announced all employees at their headquarters and managers who travel within the U.S. must be vaccinated by early October.
Meat producer Tyson Foods is requiring office workers to become vaccinated by Oct. 1. All other employees will have until Nov. 1. According to the company, almost half of their workforce is already vaccinated.
“I applaud those employers who’ve taken steps to protect their employees, their customers, and the public from the virus. I hope to see others join them,” Gov. Pritzker said.
A vaccination requirement for employees by the state of Illinois and private companies is completely legal and government organizations such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make that clear.
“For most people that’s going to be the end of the ballgame. For those people with a Bona fide religious objection or some sort of disability where they can’t get vaccinated, then they could get an exemption or accommodation from their employer,” Kelsey Marquard, an attorney for O’Brien and Marquard in Davenport, said.
It’s similar to the legal framework that mandates kindergartners get vaccinated before starting school, but this is new territory for some employers.
“In terms of employers, a lot of individuals going into work are already immunized for measles. Because you immunized when you went into kindergarten. So it’s not an issue employers normally have to deal with. This is new. And it’s going to really impact the workforce so employers are having to deal with it for the first time,” Marquard said.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Gov. Pritzker also announced a mask mandate in all pre-K/K-12 schools and daycares in an effort to curb the virus’ spread in younger populations.
Last week, President Biden announced all civilian federal workers will be required to provide proof of vaccination or be tested, socially distanced, and masked.
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