CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston announced Friday it will require all city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-November.

In an email to city employees, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the reason for the mandate was due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and because of the highly contagious Delta variant in the area.

Mayor Tecklenburg said the city has an obligation to its employees and citizens to provide a safe environment. “With that in mind, and in consultation with medical professionals and other neighboring governments, we have decided to require that city employees be vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said.

“This is a critical step to protect the health and safety of those who serve our community and to ensure that we remain capable of providing essential city services,” said Tecklenburg.

All employees, volunteers, interns and agency temps must be fully vaccinated no later than November 22, 2021. Certain exemptions will be made available for medical and other limited reasons.

Employees who want to take advantage of on-site or employer-sponsored vaccine clinics must pre-register by September 30. All employees, volunteers, interns, and agency temps must be partially or fully vaccinated, or have registered with the city for a city-sponsored clinic and have an appointment, or must have submitted a request for exemption by October 4.

Both the City of North Charleston and Charleston County are requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.