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Grand Rapids requiring employees to wear masks, asks visitors to do the same

When receiving a service, city employees may also request that an individual wear a mask or provide proper social distancing space.
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young woman in medical face protection mask indoors on blue background. Sick person

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The city of Grand Rapids is now requiring employees to wear masks indoors, officials announced Wednesday morning. They’re asking visitors of the city to do the same.

The mandate was made in response to the rise of the Delta variant. It goes towards all employees, regardless of vaccination status.

The requirement goes into effect today. City Manager Mark Washington signed an administrative order, stating masks are mandatory for workers in indoor areas where six feet of social distancing is not possible.

Employees are also required to wear protective face coverings at public meetings. Community members attending the meetings or visiting city buildings will be asked to wear masks, as well. If needed, there will be masks provided.

When receiving a service, city employees may request that an individual wear a mask or provide proper social distancing space. 

"Now, what we have done is we've provided that employees can request that a visitor mask, if they choose not to employees can request that that interaction take place in a location where there's sufficient ability to distance," said Assistant City Manager Doug Matthews. "And we feel like that's a fair compromise again, just to make sure that people are staying safe."

“Data indicates that well over 90% of recent COVID-19 cases that require hospitalization are among those who have not been vaccinated,” said Washington. “Our primary concern is with the health and safety of our employees and those we serve. We continue to encourage vaccination among the workforce as the single best protective measure to ensure this is possible.”

The order will be effective until Oct. 14, or until Kent County is no longer classified as a “substantial” risk area or higher for COVID-19.

When asked about mandating vaccines for city workers, Matthews added, "At this time, we're not mandating vaccination for for employees. If you look at what some other organizations have done, if you look at what the federal government has done, it's a requirement to vaccinate or submit to testing...We're going to continue to monitor and see how things go see how things develop. And then we'll make future determinations from there."

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