Mayor Hancock Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Employees
Published on August 02, 2021
Employees must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 under new public health order
With the COVID-19 Delta variant surging across much of the nation, Mayor Michael B. Hancock today announced that all city employees, as well as private-sector workers in high-risk settings, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30.
The new Public Health Order applies to the city’s municipal workforce of more than 10,000 employees, including police officers, firefighters, and sheriff’s deputies. The requirement also applies to workers in congregate-care settings such as nursing homes, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, hospitals, and correctional facilities, as well as teachers and staff in schools and post-secondary institutions.
Employees covered by this requirement will need to receive their final doses of the vaccine by Sept. 15. The City will work closely with employers to provide guidance on enforcement and accountability of this mandate. An online toolkit will be made available on Denvergov.org.
While Denver’s vaccination rate is among the highest in the country, with approximately 70% of eligible residents fully vaccinated, those who are unvaccinated remain at great risk and they pose an ongoing threat to the city’s ability to move past the pandemic. In the past six months, 96% of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado were not fully vaccinated.
“Denver is now experiencing the most infectious strain of the virus – the Delta variant, which is responsible for 90% of new cases statewide,” Mayor Hancock said. “To achieve the highest level of protection and recovery from the pandemic, especially among high-risk and vulnerable groups, we need to maximize vaccinations as quickly as possible, and mandates will do just that.”
While Denver’s rates of infection and positivity remain low, there has been an uptick in key indicators of concern:
- Change in average daily infection rate from an average of 15 to almost 70 today
- Change in average daily positivity rate from 1.0% in mid-June to above 3% today
- Lagging indicators like hospitalizations and deaths beginning to increase
“The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) has continuously monitored available data to ensure our guidance is based on science and sound public health principles,” said Bob McDonald, Executive Director of DDPHE. “Given what we know today, I strongly believe that controlling the spread of the virus and its variants through timely and thoughtful mandated vaccinations, especially as we enter the colder fall and winter months, is necessary. By further increasing the number of vaccinated residents, we’re able to protect children and those who can’t get vaccinated, limit hospitalizations and ultimately save lives.”
With this announcement, Denver joins the State of Colorado, the federal government, and a growing number of other government and private sector employers across the country in requiring employees to show proof of vaccination. Some other examples include New York City, the State of California, the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 600 colleges and universities across the country, and major private sector employers like Google and Facebook.
This requirement does not change city regulations regarding face coverings. Denver is taking a stronger approach to stopping the spread of COVID-19 by requiring employees in certain high-risk environments, and all City and County of Denver employees be vaccinated. Face coverings are required for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, patients, residents, and visitors in correctional facilities, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, and emergency medical and other healthcare settings. In other settings, the decision to wear or require face coverings is currently at the discretion of individuals and each business or facility.
The COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness from the virus. For those who are vaccinated, a face covering can provide additional protection, and for some people, might provide peace of mind. It is still STRONGLY encouraged that people who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised wear a face covering and practice social distancing in public places.
The City and County of Denver is committed to keeping businesses and the economy open while ensuring that employers and employees feel safe in the workplace. To that end, the city encourages all employers to ensure that their employees are vaccinated, and it is taking the lead on this initiative by mandating vaccinations.
Learn more about the public health order and frequently asked questions.