Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that the COVID vaccine will be required for government employees in Minnesota. If employees choose not to be vaccinated and get an exemption, they will need to undergo weekly COVID testing. The State of Minnesota is the second largest business to require employees to be vaccinated, with over 40,000 employees, second to Mayo Clinic.
In a tweet, Walz announced his plan to require COVID vaccines. He wrote, “Minnesota is leading by example, joining businesses and colleges across the state in requiring our employees working in-person to get the vaccine or receive a negative COVID-19 test weekly.”
Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep us safe as the Delta variant spreads. Today, Minnesota is leading by example, joining businesses and colleges across the state in requiring our employees working in-person to get the vaccine or receive a negative COVID-19 test weekly.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) August 11, 2021
According to another tweet, around half of Minnesota employees are not currently required to work from the office, which would leave them out of the vaccine requirement. The requirement applies to state employees, including state colleges and universities.
New info on the number of employees covered by the mandate:
The executive branch has 35,700 workers. 57% are currently required to be in the office.
— Theo Keith (@TheoKeith) August 11, 2021
FOX 9 reported “employees who telework and aren’t vaccinated or agree to weekly testing will only be allowed to enter the workplace for 10 minutes at a time.”
When explaining why he decided to mandate the vaccine, Walz pointed to several local healthcare providers that are doing the same and compared the requirements to those implemented by President Joe Biden for federal employees.
The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, which represents 15,000 state workers, said it has some concerns about the mandate. Some of its questions include “how employees will provide proof of vaccination, whether the state will pay for weekly testing, and how testing locations will differ for Twin Cities Metro and outstate employees.”
State Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the state will not mandate testing or vaccines for Senate employees.
Gazelka said, “Vaccines are widely available for those who want them and are incredibly effective at preventing the spread and impact of COVID. A vaccination mandate is divisive and unproductive.”
According to FOX 9, “Minnesota State will implement a proof of vaccination requirement for its 15,000 employees following Walz’s announcement, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra said in an email. The requirement does not extend to students.” However, the University of Minnesota’s position on vaccination remains unclear.
As reported by The Minnesota Sun, the administration at the University of Minnesota (UM) said “mandating the vaccine would be difficult to enforce because of an immunization law in Minnesota that allows for religious and contentious exemptions.” UM later decided it will mandate the COVID vaccine for the student body if it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. As reported by The Sun, faculty at the UM were told that their vaccination would not be mandatory, but it was “strongly encouraged.” Those who are not vaccinated will be required to have regular testing for COVID.
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