Sunday, September 26, 2021
Sept. 26, 2021

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Port of Olympia to staff: Get vaccinated, or get tested weekly for COVID-19

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Olympia — Almost a week after the Port of Olympia commission approved a resolution requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly tests, the commission signed off on a letter Monday that will be sent to port staff about the requirement.

Commissioner E.J. Zita was unable to attend Monday’s meeting, so she sent suggested edits for the letter, which commissioners Joe Downing and Bill McGregor weighed before they voted on it.

The letter is expected to be signed by all three commissioners and sent to port staff this week, spokeswoman Jennie Foglia-Jones said Monday. The port has a staff of 45, she said.

“The port has an obligation to ensure a safe working environment for its employees and to ensure the continuity of business operations,” the letter reads. “Due to the rising number of COVID cases and the growing menace of the highly transmittable Delta Variant, the port commission felt it necessary to impose requirements meant to keep staff and the public safe in our work environment.”

The Sept. 7 resolution requires all port employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 31, or submit negative COVID-19 tests weekly after Oct. 31, or risk termination.

“Port employees who choose not to be vaccinated, or refuse to provide weekly COVID-19 test results, and thereby do not comply with this resolution after October 31, 2021 may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination from employment,” the resolution reads.

The letter emphasizes that more information is to come.

“More information regarding acceptable vaccination documentation and protocols for submitting COVID-19 test results will be forthcoming,” the letter reads.

The Port of Olympia isn’t the only public agency to announce such a requirement. Gov. Jay Inslee has made a similar announcement regarding state workers and Thurston County also has approved a vaccine mandate.

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