Aug 26, 2021 - COVID

Tampa to require COVID vaccinations for city workers

Illustration of the coronavirus vaccine and the Tampa skyline, over a pattern of palm trees.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is the latest Florida leader to defy state law, announcing yesterday that all city workers will have until Sept. 30 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • Those who refuse will have to wear N95 masks and show the results of weekly tests.

Why it matters: The city joins Orange County as the only places in the state to mandate vaccines for their workers so far, while Miami-Dade requires masks at indoor facilities.

  • All three areas are pushing back against Gov. Ron DeSantis' order invalidating local pandemic emergency measures, which includes mask mandates and requiring proof of vaccination.

The other side: DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw told Axios in an email that the governor was generally for vaccines but against mandates. She added:

"Everyone who can get vaccinated should do so, rather than take the unnecessary risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. But the fact is that millions of Americans have already had COVID, recovered, and have thereby built up their natural resistance to the virus."

The big picture: In St. Petersburg, Mayor Rick Kriseman has not yet decided to follow Castor's lead.

  • ​​"All options remain on the table here in St. Petersburg, and we will continue to monitor and make decisions that protect the health and safety of our community and our city team," Kriseman said in a statement to Axios.
  • More than 1,100 St. Pete employees have told the city they're vaccinated, with more than 800 getting a shot in the last few weeks, Kriseman said.

Between the lines: The mandate applies only to full-time employees, not contractors.

  • Castor estimated about 40% of the city's 4,700 employees are already vaccinated, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

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