Mayor of L.A. Eric Garcetti said that approximately 700 employees unvaccinated against COVID-19 may be put on unpaid leave within the next two weeks.
As of Wednesday, Garcetti said there were 77 unvaccinated employees who have already been placed on unpaid leave, but said a majority of the municipal workers have been vaccinated, including first responders.
“I’ve asked all department heads, including our chiefs of our fire department and police department to ensure that we get as much coverage as possible,” Garcetti said about first responders being vaccinated. “I’m hopeful as these numbers continue to creep up, and they are quite strong already, that that won’t tax us—that we will be able to fulfill our city functions and keep people safe and respond to our 9-1-1 calls.”
In early November, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said 78% of the department was at least partially vaccinated and he expects 100% vaccination rate from his force, although 1,357 of its roughly 12,000 employees did not submit their vaccination status.
Employees were given an opportunity to seek medical or religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine, which would allow them to continue work under a twice-a-week testing program that would be paid for by the employee.
Garcetti said that testing program would start Friday, Nov. 19.