TAMPA, Fla. — The City of Tampa will have a vaccine mandate for all city employees.

Mayor Jane Castor announced the mandate during a news conference Wednesday morning. 

What You Need To Know

  • Mayor Castor announces vaccine mandate for full-time city employees

  • Employees must have shot by Sept. 30; options are available for those who don't want the vaccine

  • WATCH the mayor's announcement

Castor, who estimated that about 40 percent of city employees are already vaccinated, said employees who are not will have until Sept. 30 to become vaccinated. 

The mayor also detailed options for employees who did not want to get the shot. Those include wearing N95 masks, being tested once a week and showing the results of those tests. Castor also said employees who show antibodies will also have to show test results.

"My job is to ensure the health and well-being of our team," Castor said. "The decision may not be a popular one, but it is the right thing to do."

 The mayor said she appreciated the leaders of the city's collective bargaining unions for being receptive and open-minded about the proposal in early discussions and that additional details and options for employees will finalized with internal discussions.

Since remote working ended in June, all city employees have been required either to wear masks at worked or show proof of vaccination and wear buttons or wrist bands showing that they are vaccinated.

The rise in cases in recent weeks prompted the city leaders to examine additional measures to protect the workforce and the public, officials said.

The mandate is for full-time employees and not contractors. There are about 4,700 city employees.

"This COVID-19 surge is a crisis threatening our community, and the most effective way to halt the spread is with vaccinations. We need to take this step to protect one another and our community, and I am so grateful to the dedicated city of Tampa employees who have worked so hard during this difficult time," Castor said. "This is mainly about protecting our community and everybody's health, but there is a fairness issue here. Unvaccinated employees are very likely to get COVID-19, and it's their vaccinated colleagues who have to pick up the slack while they are out, hopefully recovering."