The City of LA will stop efforts to enforce part of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees, now that the City formally ended its years-long “state of emergency” as a result of the pandemic.
Exemptions requested by thousands of unvaccinated City workers will be automatically granted, according to City documents obtained by the I-Team and other sources, and ongoing termination proceedings for some employees who’d refused to comply with the mandate because of exemption requests, were dropped.
The City has also retroactively granted exemptions for employees who previously had their applications denied.
City Council president Paul Krikorian declined to discuss the decision, which was made in a closed-door meeting and became public as a memo outlining the rule-change was distributed to City department heads this week.
“It makes sense that we’re changing posture,” another City official told the I-Team, as the language of the employee vaccine mandate was tied to the existence of an ongoing emergency, which has been ended by the City Council.
At last report there were more than 4,000 LA City employees across all departments who had applied for either a medical or a religious exemption, or both, City officials said.
At least 85 City workers were fired for refusing to comply with the mandate, though additional employees, including police officers and firefighters, were fired for insubordination, as a result of their refusal to engage with the registration process or to request exemptions.
Mayor Karen Bass’ office declined to comment.
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate still exists, however, and newly hired workers will be expected to be fully vaccinated unless they obtain an exemption. Exemptions for newly hired employees will not be automatically granted.
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