The rule will go into effect starting Aug. 15. Individuals who aren’t fully vaccinated, meaning they haven’t received two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose J&J vaccine, will have to submit their results to a human resources officer or department supervisor.
“The vaccine is the best tool we have to combat this virus and we are committed to making State government a safe and healthy environment for all employees and the public we are charged with serving,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, in a statement late last week. “State employees have always led by example, and I remain confident they will continue to step up and follow these new mitigation strategies that will enable us to better protect each other and the fellow Nevadans we serve.”
State government workplaces that reach 70 percent vaccination of employees will not have to follow the weekly testing protocol. However, the masking requirement will have to remain if they work in a county that is determined to have a high transmission rate of the virus, according to the governor’s office.
The mandate comes days after the Biden administration announced a similar policy for unvaccinated individuals, saying they must submit to regular COVID-19 tests.
“Right now, too many people are dying or watching someone they love die and say, ‘If I’d just got the vaccine,’” President Joe Biden said in the East Room of the White House late last month. “This is an American tragedy. People are dying who don’t have to die.”
In a statement released by the White House, the administration said new rules are needed due to the Delta COVID-19 variant.
“Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice-weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel,” the White House stated in a fact sheet.
A number of major unions pushed back against Biden’s announcement, including the American Postal Workers Union (AWPU). The union argued that it isn’t the role of the federal government to mandate vaccines or other testing measures.
“Maintaining the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance. While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent,” the union’s statement reads.
Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the 397,000-member United Auto Workers, told The Associated Press that it is against vaccine mandates due to religious or health concerns.
Larry Cosme, the head of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents 30,000 federal officers and agents, said the shots shouldn’t be compelled but stressed that the union is encouraging workers to get vaccinated.