Fayetteville to consider resolution to require weekly COVID-19 tests from city employees

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The city of Fayetteville discussing a proposal that could lead to some new COVID-19 testing guidelines for its city employees. The resolution back on Tuesday’s agenda.

City Councilmember, Sonia Gutierrez says this proposal is about protecting the safety of its employees and the public.

City leaders are concerned about COVID -19 and how fast the delta variant is spreading in the region. There are also concerns about the number of people who are not vaccinated ending up in hospitals and dying from this virus.

Councilmember, Matthew Petty introduced this resolution.

Gutierrez says if it passes all unvaccinated city employees would be required to submit weekly COVID-19 tests to human resources.

“We have to think about the rest of our staff. We need to keep the staff healthy so they can continue to do their job so the city can continue to operate,” said Gutierrez.

She says employees would get paid during their shift to go and get tested. Employees can already do this to get the COVID-19 shot.

Those who are fully vaccinated and voluntarily show a vaccination card would not have to do the weekly testing.

The city discussed the proposal last week to make sure it did not break any current state laws.

For example, in Arkansas, one law bans the government and public institutions the ability to require employees to show vaccine cards.

Under the proposed resolution, the city would require weekly testing and city employees would voluntarily show their vaccination card to be exempt.

She says city employees come in regular contact with the public and this is about protecting everyone.

“By getting a free vaccine you are really investing in your own health future … I can’t imagine what it costs to be in the hospital for weeks on end – so this is a financial decision as well for people who don’t want to rack up medical bills,” Gutierrez.

She expects some pushback., adding that the reality is some folks are not going to want to get the covid-19 shot or do the weekly testing. Although she is hopeful about the proposal she said it could mean losing some employees.

The city council meeting is taking place tonight at 5:30pm

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