Last week, Mayor Tim Keller and other officials last week announced the city would require all of its workers to report their vaccine status by Friday, Jan. 21. Those not fully vaccinated would have to begin testing weekly to prove they were testing negative for COVID-19.
Today, city officials took a step back, releasing a statement that “As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling last Thursday blocking federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, the City of Albuquerque is pausing the implementation of a vaccination or testing policy for City employees. The OSHA rules took effect last week until the Supreme Court’s decision halted the requirement that large employers begin collecting vaccination information from employees and require regular COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees starting in February.”
Mayoral spokesperson Ava Montoya says the city will continue to follow CDC and NMDOH guidance in its policy for employees. The City is also strongly encouraging employees to get vaccinated and boosted to protect against illness and hosts weekly vaccine opportunities for employees and the public at City facilities. City employees and visitors are still required to mask up in City facilities.
The mandate would have affected over 6,000 city employees. Health officials say New Mexico is nearing the peak of its Omicron surge, as hospitals are still operating on crisis standards of care.