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LaPorte mandates masks for unvaccinated city employees
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LaPorte mandates masks for unvaccinated city employees

LaPorte City Hall

LaPorte City Hall

LAPORTE — Unvaccinated city employees in LaPorte must now wear masks on the job because of rising COVID-19 cases.

Employees not vaccinated must also be tested once a week for the virus and have daily temperature checks.

The requirements are contained in a measure adopted by the LaPorte Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday.

Masks are mandated for unvaccinated employees inside city owned buildings and vehicles.

Workers are allowed to remain unvaccinated for medical and religious purposes as long they show proof to substantiate their request for an exemption, said Human and Community Relations Director Jen Noll.

Noll cited a continued rise in cases and hospitalizations, almost entirely from the unvaccinated, locally and statewide for updating the city’s Communicable Disease Policy.

“We felt it was imperative that we address this with our staff,” she said.

Join Sandy Curry, Willie Hall, and Michael Quiroz as they ride for Superior Ambulance in East Chicago

Mayor Tom Dermody said revising the policy began after three police officers and three firefighters recently contracted the virus.

One of the infected firefighters is vaccinated with symptoms not nearly as serious as the other firefighters battling COVID-19, said LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder.

Dermody acknowledged it’s possible some employees could quit over the mandate, which will remain in effect until the surge eases up.

However, he said the top priority is keeping everyone safe and the city functioning properly by keeping infection rates among workers as low as possible, especially in areas like public safety.

“So far there hasn’t been much issue,” he said.

Noll said at least one worker has received a dose of the vaccine since the new policy was implemented.

She said less than half of the city’s 245 full-time and part-time employees were vaccinated.

“We have some work to do,” Noll said.

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The project, financed primarily with a $6.5 million state grant, is set to go out for bids in April of 2023, said Greg Wendling, project manager for Indianapolis-based engineering firm Butler, Fairman and Seufert.

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