NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey signed an executive order Wednesday requiring all city employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The move comes as coronavirus cases surge in the community. South Carolina’s lead health agency reported 3,554 confirmed and 1,598 probable cases of the virus on Wednesday.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey says the ongoing pandemic ” has created an infectious disease threat to our community and to the world that is unprecedented in our time.” He said the recent surge in cases, created by the Delta variant, has further heightened a compelling interest in preventing the spread of this life-threatening disease.
Mayor Summey says it’s his responsibility to maintain the health and well-being of his employees and to make sure they are able to provide the services – whether police, fire, or any other -and do so in a safe manner for the people the city serves.
“To achieve and maintain a workplace that is free from the known health and safety hazards, the City is adopting a mandatory vaccination policy to protect our employees and their families, as well as the citizens, vendors, and visitors we serve,” said Mayor Summey.
The city said requirements within the vaccine mandate are based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health officials, and that it complies with all applicable workplace laws.
“I am not one of the people that like to create controls, but unlike anything that we’ve had before, this is a different time. It’s no different to me than the vaccination I had to have before I could go to school nearly 65 years ago. It is an opportunity for us to limit the damage,” said Summey.
All employees, volunteers and interns – full or part-time – must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 5, 2021. Employees who wish to submit exemptions must do so before the deadline set by the city.
Employees who want to take advantage of on-site or employer-sponsored vaccine clinics must register by September 9. All employees, volunteers and interns must be partially or fully vaccinated by September 20, or have submitted an exemption request.
To read the city’s new policy, including compliance and exemption deadlines, can click here.
Charleston County Council is set to discuss possibly implementing the requirement during a Thursday night meeting.