Following Madison and Dane County requiring employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide a weekly negative test, City Council alders will consider adhering to the same set of rules.
City Council President Syed Abbas, Vice President Arvina Martin and Ald. Regina Vidaver, District 5, are sponsoring a resolution that would require alders provide evidence they are fully vaccinated or do weekly COVID-19 testing.
Abbas said it’s important alders follow the same rules as city staff, and the resolution looks ahead to when the council may meet in person again. In August, the council delayed plans to return to meeting in person due to COVID-19 cases increasing.
“Instead of catch up, we want to be ahead of the game,” Abbas said.
Martin added: “It’s important that we as city leaders do our share in order to help keep folks safe from this. It’s a good message for us to be sending that city leadership is still thinking about everything and that we’re doing what we can professionally and personally to keep the spread as minimal as possible.”
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced the new workplace rules in August. Within the city, the rules were codified in an administrative rule that the council would apply to themselves under the proposed resolution.
“The city of Madison has a duty to promote healthy and safe practices for its employees and its communities,” the resolution states.
Vidaver said the resolution stemmed from a question she had after receiving an email to city staff with directions about how to provide vaccination status information to supervisors. She didn’t know if it applied to alders.
She said alders should demonstrate that the council believes vaccinations as a public health measure are needed to end the pandemic.
“We as alders are representatives of the city, and if we are not willing to subject ourselves (to rules) that we’re saying are important for city staff to do, then I don’t think we’re good representatives,” Vidaver said. “It’s important for us to really set that tone and to say, ‘yes,’ we believe in vaccinations.”
According to Public Health Madison & Dane County data, 84.9% of the eligible population, 12 and older, in Dane County have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Since the more contagious Delta variant became the dominant strain in Dane County, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the county has spiked. The weekly case rate per 100,000 increased from 22 to 209 from July 19 to Sept. 19, according to local public health data, before decreasing to 157 on Sept. 27.
On Monday, Public Health Madison & Dane County extended an indoor mask mandate that requires everyone age 2 and older to wear a face covering inside when other people who are not from their household are present, regardless of vaccination status.
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