The Chicago Park District rolled out a vaccine mandate for its employees Tuesday, with Dec. 15 as the deadline for compliance.
The action was taken by interim Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño, who was named to the post less than a week ago following the resignation of Mike Kelly.
“Implementing a vaccine mandate for park employees is an important step in keeping our workforce, parks and patrons safe,” Escareño said in a statement. “We must do our part to help ensure families that our parks are safe destinations for their children and contribute to the overall wellbeing of their communities.”
As a carrot, the district is offering an additional personal day off to vaccinated staff. As a stick: Staff who haven't received accommodations and still remain unvaccinated as of March 1, 2022, will be placed on a non-disciplinary no-pay status until they have become fully vaccinated.
Employees can apply for accommodations based on medical conditions, disabilities or "sincerely held religious beliefs," according to the newly adopted policy. Staff who remain unvaccinated between Dec. 15 and March 1 and those with approved accommodations must get tested for COVID-19 twice weekly, on their own time and dime.
New employees hired after the policy's announcement must be fully vaccinated as a condition of accepting the job.