Californians who work for the state, in health care, or in a handful of other high-risk settings will be required to show proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing, the governor announced Monday.
The policy will take effect for state employees on Aug. 2. Staffers at what the state has deemed “high-risk congregate settings” have until Aug. 9 to get their shots, while employees at health care facilities will have until Aug. 23.
“Congregate settings” include adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters and jails ― all of which have struggled to stymie COVID-19 outbreaks.
The order affects upward of 2.25 million people. The state employs at least 238,000 people, and about 2 million work in the public and private health care sector, according to The Associated Press.
The announcement comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus gains traction around the U.S., particularly in California. Los Angeles County reinstated its indoor mask mandate for all citizens, regardless of their vaccination status, as delta cases began to spike earlier this month.
“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in a statement. “As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same.”
“Vaccines are safe — they protect our family, those who truly can’t get vaccinated, our children and our economy,” he said. “Vaccines are the way we end this pandemic.”
Earlier Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a similar measure for the city’s roughly 340,000 municipal workers and encouraged private companies to follow the city’s lead.