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San Francisco expands vaccine mandate to include city contractors

San Francisco is broadening its vaccination mandate for city employees to include contractors who work with the city. 

The mandate goes into effect on Dec. 31, and includes contractors and nonprofit workers who work at city facilities or alongside city workers, the Mayor’s Office said on Friday. Contractors may be granted exemptions for qualifying religious or medical exemptions, and the City Administrator is tasked with implementing the mandate.

The new mandate marks a significant expansion of San Francisco’s vaccine requirement for city workers, which was the first of its kind in the country when it was announced in June. San Francisco maintains contracts with hundreds of companies, ranging from construction and engineering firms to nonprofit social service providers. 

According to the Mayor’s Office, the mandate doesn’t necessarily apply to all contractors: Only workers who have regular, in-person contact with city employees are subject to the mandate. The mandate also applies to city commissioners.

The city is currently sorting out specific enforcement details, but firms contracting with the city will have to attest that eligible employees are fully vaccinated by the deadline. 

“City contractors are an important part of the broader workforce that delivers needed services to San Francisco, so it’s important for contractors to also be vaccinated and contribute to lowering the spread of COVID-19 on City facilities and among staff,” said Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax, in a statement. 

According to the Department of Human Resources, 94% of city workers were vaccinated as of Wednesday. Employees who do not comply with the vaccine mandate by Nov. 1, the last deadline for submitting proof of full vaccination, are subject to termination. 

Some city departments with many frontline workers, such as SFMTA and the police department, are bracing for terminations of potentially hundreds of workers come November. 

As of last week, 313 police employees, including 276 sworn officers, were unvaccinated according to a department-wide email viewed by Here/Say Media. Of those employees, 228 requested religious exemptions and a large majority were denied. 

This week, SFMTA warned that more than 300 transit operators could be subject to termination on Nov. 1, triggering “unpredictable” disruptions beginning Halloween weekend and a delay of its service restoration plans.