City of Spokane, county await decision on vaccine mandate

<p><p>It remains uncertain whether President Joseph Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate will apply to the thousands of people who work for the city of Spokane and Spokane County.</p></p><p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Friday in an emergency challenge to the mandate, which effects employers with more than 100 employees and is set to take effect Monday.</p></p><p><p>Under rules announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in November, employees would be required to receive the vaccine against COVID-19 or wear a mask and be tested on a weekly basis.</p></p><p><p>As of Friday evening, the Supreme Court had yet to issue a decision on a challenge to the rules by a number of business groups, religious organizations and states, including Idaho.</p></p><p><p>The city of Spokane is operating under the assumption the mandate will apply to its operations if the court allows it to move forward. It could require the city <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/dec/23/city-prepares-to-implement-vaccine-mandate” target=”_blank”>come to terms on accommodations for unvaccinated employees with multiple labor unions</a>.</p></p><p><p>The city is “on hold” and awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court. Its next steps will be communicated first to employees, according to city spokesman Brian Coddington.</p></p><p><p>A mandate would likely put Spokane County, which has more than 2,000 employees, in the same position as Spokane.</p></p><p><p>Spokane County commissioners did not respond to requests for comment, but they have stated in the past they have no interest in imposing a vaccine requirement on county employees.</p></p>