The city of Bethel’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate took effect on Sept. 27, and five city employees are set to be fired for refusing to get vaccinated.
Since the city announced the mandate two weeks ago, nearly half of the City of Bethel’s previously unvaccinated workers got a COVID-19 vaccine. Under the mandate, all City of Bethel employees, contractors, and volunteers must be vaccinated against the virus.
Before the city issued the mandate, it employed 16 unvaccinated workers. That total included seven unvaccinated police officers who made up nearly half the police department. Human Resources Director James Harris said that all but two officers have gotten vaccinated. One unvaccinated officer has received a religious exemption, and the other unvaccinated officer faces being fired. Both unvaccinated officers reside in Wasilla and commute to Bethel on a two weeks on, two weeks off schedule.
Harris also said that at least four more employees face firing; all are in the public works department. At least two other city employees have resigned. When the city announced the vaccine mandate, the city employed 105 workers.