DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is pushing its nearly 31,000 state employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 20 or be subject to twice-weekly COVID-19 tests.
The rules will apply to all workers, whether they’re working remote or in-person.
“I have heard from state employees who are terrified that their unvaccinated co-workers will give them COVID-19 and want vaccination mandated, and from other state workers who have hesitation towards the vaccine,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a release announcing the rules. “I think this middle road is the right one to take, respecting the right of state workers to decide while also taking effective steps to address the legitimate safety concerns of fellow state workers.”
Colorado state employee vaccine rules
Starting in September, Colorado state workers will be asked to self-report their vaccination status to the human resources department. Anyone who’s unvaccinated or who refuses to disclose their vaccination status will be required to undergo the two COVID-19 tests a week.
“Employers are legally allowed to ask for this information,” the state says in a document outlining the policy, although they say they will not notify an employee’s supervisor of their vaccination status.
“We are striving to protect your vaccination status, while still ensuring the safety of all state employees,” the document states.
The requirement will be in place until an employee proves they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 or until transmission levels are low enough — and vaccination rates are high enough — to no longer require the tests.
The state said they will work to provide several ways for people to disclose their vaccination status, including the state’s digital ID app, myColorado, where workers can upload a digital verification of their vaccination card.
Colorado state employee mask rules
The state continues to require its unvaccinated employees to wear masks inside state facilities and will continue to do so once the vaccination rules go into effect in September.
As of Friday, the state had not expanded the indoor masking rule to vaccinated employees, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines urging indoor masking in areas of “substantial” or “high” transmission — a measure that includes most Colorado counties.
In its policy document, the state says “agencies will have the discretion to set their own mask policies based on the populations they serve, the nature of their work, and the vaccination levels within their respective facilities.”
The announcement comes after the federal government announced a vaccine mandate for all its employees. The City and County of Denver is expected to announce an employee vaccine mandate next week.