MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Employees of state agencies in Minnesota will need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in regular testing before returning to the workplace.
Gov. Tim Walz announced the new vaccination requirements for state agency workers on Wednesday afternoon, saying it was done to protect workers and families from the virus.
“Vaccination is the best way to keep the employees and people we serve safe and to ensure that the Delta variant does not derail our economic recovery,” said Walz. “The state sets an example and strives to vaccinate our public employees to protect themselves, their colleagues and their communities. With this action, we join businesses and colleges across the state that have taken this important milestone, and I urge other employers to do the same.
By Wednesday, September 8, state agency employees who will work in person will be required to show proof of vaccination and attest to their vaccination status.
Employees who are not vaccinated will need to test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week to continue working in public workplaces across the state.
“With the Delta variant on the rise statewide, the people of Minnesota deserve to have confidence in their safety in the workplace,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep our workers safe, and I encourage all state agency employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible. This is how we take care of each other as Minnesotans.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) issued a statement in response to the vaccination requirement.
“The warrant issued by Governor Walz requiring a vaccine or weekly testing of state employees does not apply to the Minnesota Senate. Instead of warrants, we will continue our policy of allowing staff and members to work remotely, and those who wish can wear a mask and get vaccinated. I believe this approach protects security and freedom together. Our priority remains to find this important balance.
“I repeat what I said yesterday: Vaccines are widely available to those who want them and are incredibly effective in preventing the spread and impact of COVID. A vaccination mandate is divisive and unproductive.
The governor’s announcement comes amid a growing list of employers in need of vaccination, including major healthcare employers like the Mayo Clinic, Allina Health and M Health Fairview.