Story by KMUN Correspondent Jacob Lewin [Scroll down to listen]
Astoria city officials are upbeat about compliance with the city’s covid vaccine mandate. Next Monday is the deadline and 89% of staff have been vaccinated. Others are in the process of being vaccinated or have been exempted but are working under restrictions. Fire Chief Dan Crutchfield says just one volunteer and one intern out of a staff of 20 firefighters have resigned rather than get the shots:
“I think this could have been much worse so I don’t want to paint a gloom and doom picture for you, but we have had some impacts.”
Human relations manager Ashley Houston says two child care workers and one worker at the aquatic center have resigned:
“That can impact our services and our ability to keep the pool open for the hours that we have or to operate as many classrooms or to offer childcare to as many children as we’re taking care of.”
Mayor Bruce Jones is happy about how things have turned out:
“It seems clear also that the mandate had the desired effect of convincing a lot of people who were delaying or not just taking their time making up their mind to go ahead and make that decision and get vaccinated. I know there was concerns that more people would resign their positions and it seems that there are very few that have done that.”
By state law, the city is not allowed to mandate vaccines for police officers and is not sure how many of them have been vaccinated.